Hydrangea, fugly color.

bria0128August 2, 2006

So, yeah, my hydrangea bloomed a lovely blue when first planted, then pink when they rooted into the soil. Now, they are the ugliest blurple color. Like a dull dirty pink with little streaks of purpley blue. Also, strangely enough, they seem to be that color only on the bottoms of the flowers, the tops of the flowers are green. But most are pointing downwards, as if blooming upside down. Wether that's because of heat or because the flowers are near the end of their bloom I'm unsure.

I think I'll try adding ammonium (whatever it was @_@) since I'd rather blue or purple flowers. Any other advice would be much appreciated though!

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Sounds like the normal aging process for a hydrangea bloom. Additives at this stage are pointless.....yg

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 9:20AM
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But they bloomed that color...

They bloomed blue the first time, then those died. There were a few pink after that, then these bloomed after those. So, not so much aging.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 9:12PM
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lkaa(z7 NOVA)

I think you mean aluminum sulfate... You can also try mulching with pine needles since they are acidic and you want your soil to have more acid in it to get the blue color. From hydrangeas plus website:

To lower the pH and increase the amount of aluminum in the soil, apply around the hydrangea aluminum sulfate several times at intervals in the spring and again in the fall if the desired color is not achieved. The amount of aluminum sulfate really depends on the concentration. You donÂt want to over do it because aluminum is toxic in large doses.

Aluminum occurs naturally in most soil. If you can get the pH lower, the plant may absorb some on its own. Testing your soil for trace elements (including aluminum) is highly recommended. There are many tests available on the market for pH, too. Increase the pH of your soil by applying sulfur, rusty aluminum nails or pennies, citrus fruit peels, coffee grounds, evergreen tree needles or bark. Fertilize with a product that is very low in phosphate. Phosphate limits the absorption of aluminum.

For a powder form of aluminum sulfate, my general rule is ¼ cup per foot of hydrangea. This means that for an established 4-foot hydrangea, 1 cup of aluminum sulfate spread around the base of the plant should be adequate. This assumes a 15% concentration mixture of aluminum sulfate, the most commonly sold concentration. You may mix the aluminum sulfate in water and dissolve or apply straight to the plant then water in well. Be sure that the plant has established itself before application. We donÂt recommend aluminum sulfate for new plants because of toxicity.

Apply in the early spring when you see the first leaf. Apply again six weeks later. If color isnÂt as desired, add a fall application too.

Hope this helps in your crusade for BLUE flowers.

If the plants are "drooping" almost splitting in the middle to point downwards, that is because of the heat/sun. Water daily and that should encourage more upright flowers.

As for the green, that does sound like the normal progression of a fading flower, so it is interesting that it bloomed green...

Do you know what variety you have?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 8:55AM
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In the effort to not promote additional horticultural myths, adding pine needles, bark or citrus peels, coffee grounds etc. will NOT increase soil acidity to any significant amount. Used coffee grounds (UCG's) are nearly neutral in pH (the acidity is substantially removed during the brewing process) and while the others will be acidic initially, that is neutralized pretty rapidly as well during the decomposition process that takes place naturally in the soil. Using these materials as a mulch will only serve to change the soil pH slightly at the soil suruface.

The modest application of aluminum sulphate will help for next season, as will applications of agricultural sulfur, or you can fertilize lightly this fall and again in spring with a fert formulated for acid loving plants (often referred to as an ACR fertilizer for azaleas, camellias and rhodies) which typically contains a soil acidifier, usually sulfur. Espoma's Hollytone is one that is common. Incorporating cottonseed meal, a natural acidifier, into the soil will help also.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 9:13AM
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Ikaa - They bloom an almost white color, with pink tint around the edges, then a few days later the pink turns purpley and the white green. Maybe it is aging, but it seems to happen awfully fast...And they're Endless Summer plants, I forget what they call them exactly.

Gardengal48 - Ah! I saw some of that in a store on sale but I didn't know wether or not it changed ph or not. Is it wise to fertilize plants in fall? I live in a warm area but we still have freezes Dec-Feb, would new growth be hardy enough to live by then if I fertilized the plants in, say, October?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 4:58PM
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lkaa(z7 NOVA)

Myth or not, I have been putting pine needles around my hydrangeas every fall for the last six years, and each year they are bluer. And where I don't put any, they are pink. It is a very common practice in the mid-atlantic area with our highly clay soils, and it does seem to work.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 7:54PM
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How much sulfur is recommended for a mature 4 foot plant? I've already applied aluminum sulphate a few times this year, and the blooms are still sort of pinkish. I'm assuming sulfur will have a longer lasting effect compared to the aluminum sulphate, but how much to add?

My existing soil pH is around 7.5

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 3:37PM
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As I too was taught (the apparent myth) that pennies will enhance blue blooms on hydrangeas this year I included many pennies in each of the pots of my beautiful blue hydrangeas. My concern is: will this harm or adversely effect the blue blooms? Should I dig them up and repot them? Thank you kindly for your time and consideration

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 12:55PM
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