Changing the color of your hydrangeas is a unique approach for eye-catching landscaping. By
tweaking the soil’s pH, you can turn your hydrangeas to red, pink, blue, or purple.
How to Change Your Hydrangea’s Color by Altering the Soil’s pH
Depending on your mood or desire for a color change, you can switch around the colors of lace
cap, mop head, and mountain hydrangeas.
Mop head and lace cap hydrangeas come from the bigleaf hydrangea family (H. Macrophylla).
Mountain hydrangeas (H. Serrata) have lace cap heads but are smaller in size than the wide
Hydrangeas originally hale from Korea and Japan, which makes these lovely shrubs suitable to
grow in the U.S. too. However, not all hydrangea cultivars will change their blossom colors.
For example, if you own a white mop head hydrangea, the blooms will stay white no matter what
you do with the soil. Likewise, oakleaf, panicle, and smooth hydrangeas won’t change their
flowers’ colors either.
Bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas are the only shrubs in the hydrangea family that can change
their floral colors by altering the soil’s pH.
In the 18th century, gardeners noticed that if they planted rusty nails or poured tea on their
hydrangeas, the shrubs’ blossoms would change color. There were folks during that time that
would also say chants over their hydrangeas for a color change.
But we won’t give you any complicated incantations to change your hydrangeas’ colors. Instead,
we encourage you to simply change the soil’s pH through these six steps:
- Test your soil – You first need to know the soil’s current pH level because if it’s already
acidic, you’ll want to make it more alkaline to change hydrangea colors.
You can buy a soil testing kit at your local garden center, your county extension office, or
at your big-box retailer.
- Plan to change the soil’s pH either in late autumn or early spring to affect the
upcoming year’s blooms – It takes a few months up to a year for the soil’s pH to
change. So, you need to plan ahead of time to make any color changes.
Also, gardening experts suggest that you don’t change your soil’s pH until your young
hydrangea is at least two years old. Young shrubs need time to adjust to their current soil
and climate. Otherwise, too much change will cause your plant to go through shock.
- When you get your soil test results back, you can change the soil’s pH by adding lime
to make acidic soil or garden sulfur to make it more alkaline. Realize that changing the
soil’s pH affects your hydrangeas’ ability to take up aluminum from the ground.
Acidic soil allows the woody plant to uptake aluminum and alkaline soil prevents the
shrub from taking up aluminum.
- The lack or addition of aluminum from the soil changes the hydrangea’s flower blossoms.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Acidic soil with a soil pH of 6 or below allows hydrangeas to take up
more aluminum resulting in the flowers turning blue or lavender.
- Alkaline soil with a pH of 7 and above, which prevents hydrangeas from
absorbing aluminum from the ground, culminates with the blossoms turning
pink or red.
5. If you want to use kitchen scraps or other compost from around the house to make
the soil more acidic, use coffee grounds, peat moss, lawn clippings, or used fruit peels.
6. Crushed eggshells mixed into the soil makes it more alkaline if you want your
hydrangea to bloom pink blossoms.
Zanescapes Tree and Yard Provides You with Premier Landscaping Services
If you love to enjoy your outdoor space, but would rather have the experts tend to it, then you
need us at Zanescapes Tree and Yard.
We provide quality plant health care to your shrubs, trees, and perennial beds. If you have
questions about plant enhancement, don’t hesitate to ask us.
If you live in Branson or Springfield, MO, or Harrison, AR, you need to call Zanescapes Tree
and Yard for any of our property management services:
Branson, MO homeowners, and property managers know that Zanescapes does quality work
and will plant, prune, and care for your flowering shrubs with expertise. Contact Zanescapes
today by calling 417-332-2333 or filling out our contact form.
Zanescapes serves the following service areas: Blue Eye, Branson, Kimberling City, Nixa,
Ozark, and Springfield in Missouri and Harrison, AR.
Almanac.com, “How to Change the Color of Hydrangeas: Changing Hydrangeas to Pink or
Extension.uga.edu, “Growing Bigleaf Hydrangea.”
GardenDesign.com, “Changing Hydrangea Color.”
HGTV.com, “How to Change Hydrangea Color.”
MortonArb.org, “Mountain Hydrangea.”