Hydrangeas

We have a wildly successful group of hydrangeas growing in front of our house.  They were pretty strong for the last two years, but I haven’t trimmed them back at all so this year they’ve exploded.

I think the location helps them do so well.  The front of our house really only gets partial sun throughout the day.  Most hot afternoons they tend to get droopy, but always perk back up overnight.

In an attempt to eventually create some balance, I picked up three new hydrangeas this year from Stanley’s Greenhouse in South Knoxville.  I got two big plants that looked similar to the type of plant thriving on the other side ($32 a pop).  And one smaller white hydrangea that was being sold already blooming in a smaller pot for the $15.

Should’a stuck to what I know.  Because the white one crapped out almost immediately after I put it in the ground.

The other two are doing good though.

I was hoping I could buy some that would bloom with that vibrant blue color.  But the kindly plant man told me that if I’ve already got pink ones on one side, these will also bloom pink.  Turns out that the color of the hydrangea flowers is 100% based on the makeup of the soil they’re planted in.

Some brief research has made me want to try some techniques next year to adjust the soil enough to produce those brilliant blue flowers.  It sounds like the key is to lower the pH of the soil by using compost, then adding a solution of aluminum sulfate around the base of the plant.

You might notice that the big one has a few purple-ish flowers around the front edge.  This is definitely more blue/purple than in years past.  I’m thinking that this could be due to the mulch that I put down a few weeks ago across the whole front bed.  I really only wedged in a little bit around the front of this massive plant, but it’s interesting that the front is where the blue flowers are sprouting up.

Hydrangeas are also awesome for cutting.  They don’t last all that long in water, but they sure do look nice while they’re there.

Last sumer I also experimented with drying hydrangeas, and I’d like to try that again this year.  They seem to hold up to be very sturdy when dried, versus other flowers that just kind of crumble when you touch them.

Has anyone else ever tried to change the color of your hydrangeas?  Is it worth a try?  Where the hell do I even get aluminum sulfate?

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6 thoughts on “Hydrangeas

  1. My mother always said something about putting copper in the soil to get the blue color. But she hated the blue ones violently, so she never tried it.

  2. Your house, yard, and flowers are SO beautiful. Wow.

    I have never had any luck with hydrangeas, everyone has died. When I live in Hawaii (someday) I’ll try again. I do love them.

    Good luck!

  3. i will ask my mom about the color of the hydrangeas thing… she’s a super green thumb but also sort of a “make do with whatcha got” kinda lady. I think the pink are beautiful!

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