Dark Purple Hydrangeas

Carol_SE_PA_6July 22, 2009

I have seen several very dark purple hydrangeas lately and would like to know if they are a specific hydrangea or it is a certain group of hydrangeas that bloom dark purple in certain conditions. The flowers kind of remind me of Merritt Supreme. This is only a guess since I have seen them from my car.


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cyn427 (zone 7)

Great question, Carol (I used to live in southeast PA, so I had to post a follow-up!). I've been wondering about these as well. I have seen several as I walk the dogs in our neighborhood. Some seem to be a mix of blue and purple on the same plant. I'd love to know what they are, but I never see anyone around to ask. Hope you/we get an answer.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 4:59PM
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ladywindsurfer(Z7 SE)

They could possibly be almost any Mophead H. macrophylle, except the white-flowering ones. The pH of the soil determines the hue of the flowers, pink/red in alkaline soil, blue, purple in acidic soil. If the soil is only slightly acidic, pH >6 and Inspection of the soil indicates that apparently some cement residue from the construction of the house, was dumped and buried in the clay soil, which is very acidic and normally produces blue flowers on H. macrophylla & H. serrata.
You can experiment with yours, by adding small amounts of Dolomitic limestone to the blue ones or aluminum sulphate (sulfate) to the pink/red ones each year, until they produce purple flowers. It won't occur instantaneously and may require a few years to accomplish.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 8:43PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Thanks, ladywindsurfer. I think my soil(also clay-ugh) is a little more acidic, so I will give your suggestion a try! I suppose I could just disburse all the bricks we find buried which my DH insists on piling up behind the garage-can't throw anything away, don'tchaknow!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 12:39PM
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Thanks for the info. I guess the houses in my neighborhood with the dark purple blooms have different soil than I do. I wonder if light exposure also matters. The plants seem to be in shadier spots than my Nikko Blue.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 3:45PM
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These purple hydrangea are called Royal Purple Hydrangea. I just planted four. The leaves are light green not dark like the other hydrangea. I am anxious to see the color as they havent flowered yet.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2009 at 11:10AM
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I lived in a 20s neighborhood which is the only place I've seen the really dark purple. I don't think it is the soil, because a light blue will only turn lavender and also they were in all areas, not just near a house, also both sun and shade. I got cuttings but problems destroyed them (not after planting). I know I've seen them I think at Nantucket Hydrangeas, but he is sold out. I'm waiting to see if he will give me the names. I'll report back if I get an answer.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 4:04PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

An acidic soil pH enhances the ability of the plant to uptake naturally occurring aluminum via the roots. At very acidic levels, the colored blooms turn blue. At slightly acidic levels, not as much aluminum is absorbed and different shades of blue can be seen. Varieties that resist turning blue in acidic soils -say, Merritts Supreme, Mathilda Gutges, Glowing Embers- will turn purple first. But purple is always a tough one because it occurs in a very narrow pH range.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 9:56PM
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lauriewood(8 SC)

I have a bunch of purples. It is definitely a certain variety (the plants came with my last house and I just rooted more). When they are pink they are magenta rather than light pink. I have literally given away hundreds of babies and they are purple for whomever I give them to. Wish I knew the variety too.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 4:21PM
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