Blushing Bride does not blush

sunnytopJuly 23, 2014

I have had a blushing bride since 2007. The first 2 years were the only years they turned maroon. Siince then they have not done anything but change from white to green and then brown by fall. I am seriously considering pulling it out. It is in sun all morning and is growing and spreading well. Blooms quite a few blooms but the white coloration quickly turns to green and any different coloration is gone. Anyone else have this experience? I am wondering if it has reverted back to some other form.

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The intensity of color may be up for some discussion :-) The 'blush' is just that - a slight blush pink as the flowers age. Maroon would be a bit of a stretch......actually a BIG stretch! And the greening is also common on aging flowers of white mops. If soil is sufficiently acidic, plant gets sufficient water and some (but not too much) direct sun, the blush coloring should develop.

If you want strong pink/red/maroon coloring on maturing flowers, maybe consider a paniculata. Choices like 'Quickfire', 'Pinky Winky', 'Fire and Ice' or 'Vanilla Strawberry' will easily produce that color change you seem to want. So will the oakleaf cultivar 'Ruby Slippers'.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 3:16PM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

It could've mutated into a form that isn't pH sensitive. Either that or the soil is so neutral that any color is either not noticeable or washed out.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 4:35PM
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White flowered macs are NOT pH sensitive in that it has no influence on the flower color. But all will prefer to grow in acidic soils.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 5:18PM
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The first two years it was maroon in the fall so it is possible to get maroon. However,even so much as a blush is non existent anymore. It is white as the driven snow and quickly turns green. Initially there was no greening it turned pink and lavender to burgundy. Turning green would not be normal for a white mop that is supposed to turn colors because it would turn to brown when any blue or pink mixed with the green. Maybe that is why it turns to tan. Our soil is alkaline but I do throw liberal amounts of soil sulfur on those types of plants. If it is possible to mutate into a form that is not Ph sensitive that is definitely what happened.

I think I will rip it out and get something that will not mutate. I already have annabelle so I don't need anymore white. I do have quick fire and love it. Ruby Slippers sounds interesting. Although if it was hybridized off of the white oak leaf variety, I suppose it is capable of mutating back as well. I think I'll try it anyway. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 7:30PM
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Ruby Slippers is nice and small. This is the second year I've had it and it had two spires this summer. Not sure I would call it Ruby but it is a dark pink.

My Blushing Bride gets a tinge of blue when it is at its peak or a little after its peak. Never seen it get dark anything. Unfortunately it did not bloom well this year due to the winter lows.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:15PM
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Thanks for the pic. That is beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:02PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Sunnytop, it's possible your liberal use of sulfur is the culprit. Blushing Bride showed the pink tint in its first two years in your alkaline soil. Have you been using sulfur since it was first planted? Sulfur atop the soil can take a good while to affect the soil pH, as long as two years, at the depth of the rootball.

Blushing Bride is a controlled cross between Veitchii & Endless Summer. Veitchii is a white lacecap known to turn rose-pink in Autumn. Endless Summer's color of blue or pink is pH dependent. Wilkerson Mills, among others, notes that Blushing Bride will blush pink or blue according to soil pH - link below.

I'm guessing your sweet alkaline soil gave you the pink tints you like until it shifted with your use of sulfur. Stop the sulfur & the soil will revert to its alkaline nature, likely returning your Blushing Bride's blooms to their original expression in your garden. You might speed up this process with soil treatments used for alkalizing acidic soil - you'd have to research that.

Hydrangeas grow well in sweet soil. Believe its probably the acidic treatment that's muddled the colors of your Blushing Bride.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blushing Bride

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:55PM
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springwood_gardens(6B Pittsburgh)

Yup, some white bloomers are pH sensitive. One of my Peace quickly turns bubblegum pink after starting white. F&E didn't even claim it to be so because they didn't research enough. That led to some disappointed consumers.

I'll personally take whatever color naturally occurs in my soil, and rectify color issues by replacing and transplanting different types and breeds of plants until the color combination of a border is satisfactory.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:45PM
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Ok. Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:56AM
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I am sorry to argue but I think you may be confusing the natural color change of an aging hydrangea flower and the soil chemistry necessary to alter the color of a flower. ALL hydrangea blossoms will go through a color change as they age and it has nothing to do with soil chemistry. White flowered hydrangeas are NOT pH sensitive, as many sites will state, as they lack pigmentation and the changes in pH necessary to limit or make available aluminum ONLY affect pigmented (pink or blue) flowers.

"Not all hydrangea varieties can change color. Those that are naturally white will remain white no matter how or where they are grown." Michael J, McGroarty

"White hydrangeas can NOT be changed to pink or blue by the grower. (The Almighty sometimes adds pink and red to blooms as they age)."

"This colour change (blues and pinks) is due to the soil pH which affects aluminium availability. White flowers, and also green-flowered cultivars, remain white or green regardless of soil pH." Royal Horticultural Society

"What about white hydrangeas? Sorry, they don't play along. They stay white regardless of the soil pH." Southern Living

The change of intensity of the color in the aging process may be due to location and heat. Some southern growers note that white or green colored hydrangeas will have more intensity to the typical pink aging color in hot, sunny and humid locations. So the normal "blush" pink of an aging 'Blushing Bride' may very well turn to maroon in the appropriate location.

As I tell all my clients, never purchase any cultivar of Hydrangea macrophylla based on the colors you've seen in a magazine, in the nursery, the grocery store or in someone else's garden. Every individual planting location will offer a unique set of growing conditions that will produce a flower effect that may be completely different from what you may expect..

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:02PM
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Thanks gardengal, That should put this matter to bed...

My own Blushing Bride gets the slightest tinge of blue as it ages which is kind of cool in a way.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:52PM
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Argue? About what are we arguing? Whether or not Blushing Bride is a typical white mophead? This is a quote from

"Bred by renowned Hydrangea expert Dr. Michael Dirr, Blushing Bride boasts pure white mopheads of showy, semi-double florets that gradually mature to a sweet, subtle blush of pink."

Now the subject of ph came from someone else and everyone ran with it. I was simply responding to the subject. I was adding soil sulpher not to affect the color, obviously that was not necessary. But our soil is 7.5-8 and if I am lucky I can get it down to 6.7 which, in my study, hydrangeas along with many other plants prefer a tad on the acid side. White mopheads are not affected by ph and they typically change to green. I am not disagreeing with anyone here. However Blushing Bride was not bred to be a typical white mophead,

"Bred by renowned Hydrangea expert Dr. Michael Dirr, Blushing Bride boasts pure white mopheads of showy, semi-double florets that gradually mature to a sweet, subtle blush of pink." Enough said. I don't care if you are a "professional," I don't want to hear another word. There is no reason to think we are arguing about anything. Geeez!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 3:11AM
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Mine do blush pink or blue depending on the soil it is in. It also will age pinkish or maroon sometimes but depends on the weather and such. Dry and it as most Macs will brown-with moisture and cooler weather you may or may not get colors-stop messing with the soli and see what happens.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 12:37PM
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I'll give it a try but my gut tells me it's not going to make a difference because I haven't owned any soil sulpher up until the last 4 years and I got this in 2006 or '07 so I really don't think that is the culprit. I may be wrong. I have scoured the threads on here for blushing brides and have not found a single post of anyone reporting anything but a pink or occasionally blue color change. If there is anyone at all out there who has had a blushing bride that did not change to a hint of pink or bluish and fading to a darker in fall I want to hear from you. So far, I feel like I am the only one. Blushing Brides freeze completely to the ground in this zone in the winter. Haven't seen much from folks from my zone. Maybe it's a zone thingy. I agree with Springwood Garden's I think it must be possible that it could have mutated because of the fact that nobody else seems to have had the same experience with this particular cultivar. I am not sure, but my gut tells me that is a strong possibility. Thanks for your comments.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 7:38PM
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Geeze yourself!! The issue under debate was whether or not the color of white flowered hydrangeas was sensitive to soil chemistry (pH). It is not. And there were several horses in that race, if not yours.

FWIW, I have never encountered or heard of a hydrangea "reverting". I suppose it could happen but what exactly would it be reverting to? These are not hybrids but selected forms of the same species. If a mac was going to revert, chances are it would revert to a color (blue or pink), not to white. White - or lack of pigmentation - is not a genetically dominant characteristic.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Ok, thanks for the info. Evidently this particular cultivar does have some ph sensitivity. Ask anyone who owns one.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:27PM
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