GLT's Grow: Hydrangeas 101

May 5, 2017

Hydrangeas are showy additions to any garden.
Credit Gatsy 40 / Flickr via Creative Commons

The huge flower heads of the hydrangea bring a burst of color—pink, blue, lavender—to your garden.

  • For hydrangeas, as with real estate, it's all location, location, location. A mostly sunny landscape will help hydrangeas to thrive. Full shade won't work for these plants, and locations that don't drain well are a bane to this glorious plant.
  • Hydrangeas enjoy rich, porous, somewhat moist soils. The addition of some compost will enrich poor soil.
  • Feed the plants once a year, either in late winter or spring. But don't get too enthusiastic about it: Too much fertilizer results in leafy growth at the expense of blooms.
  • One of the most exciting things about hydrangeas is the fact that you can change the flowers’ colors, although it takes some time. And bear in mind that it's easier to change blue flowers to pink rather than pink to blue.
  • First of all, you need to have you soil pH tested. Plant the Hydrangea macrophylla variety.
  • For blue flowers, you need to lower the pH. Add sulfur or peat moss to the soil. To get pink flowers, add ground limestone.
  • In the fall, the colors will naturally fade to a greenish pink.
  • You can dry the flowers by trimming them in full bloom and hanging them upside down in a dry location, out of direct sunlight. But be aware that if you have cats; they may want to nibble on dried hydrangeas in a vase. :)

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