Vinegar in water

ivysmomFebruary 23, 2011

I haven't tested the soil yet, and I will soon, but I was under the impression that soil around town here is naturally somewhat acidic. However, my ASB that pushed a few blooms out last Fall was pink. I was hoping for bluer ones, and I have 8 masjas that I would LOVE to grow out a deep purple.

Then I read elsewhere that Houston's water is somewhat alkaline, so I am wondering if that may have offset any soil acidity. Anyhow, until I get the soil tested, I was wondering if a "trick" I read might be a good idea. Namely, to add some vinegar to the water used on the hydrangeas, to lower the pH.

Anyone tried this with success?

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Houston soils (Houston black clay) are pretty well known for being slightly alkaline. It's quite possible your indigenous soil has been amended to become more acidic but I wouldn't bet on it without testing. Clay soils tend to buffer any attempts to alter soil pH significantly. And typically, areas that have alkaline soils will have alkaline water sources as well and vice versa -- the two seem to go together.

Yes, watering with a dilute acid solution (2Tb table vinegar to a gallon of water) can overcome the alkalinity of the water but you may still be fighting a battle with respect to the soil. You might only be able to get the really deep blue or purple colored hydrangea flowers you want by growing them in a container where you can customize the soil to a specific pH.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 2:57PM
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It's not too terribly clay-y right where I live, but I guess I'll only get my answer with a pH test. Probably pick one up on the way home tonight :)

I'm not opposed to building up a bed for the hydrangeas, either. The color is what sold me on this particular cultivar, so I'm motivated to do what I can in order to get as close to that color as possible.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 3:29PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

East Texas Soils are acidic but Houston is mostly not. Use a soil pH kit sold at nurseries or make one yourself with litmus paper. Mix water and soil for a while and test to see what happens.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:22AM
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ifraser25(z11 Brazil)

Aluminum sulfate is the standard for "blueing" Hydrangeas.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 9:51PM
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You have to watch adding aluminum sulfate, it can be too harsh, but Organic Traditions makes a great product that works really well, I got mine at Home Depot. I love the the way mine go from light pink, to blue and then all shades of purple.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:49PM
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