Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Color of Hydrangea Can Be Changed, but It Takes Time

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Color of Hydrangea Can Be Changed, but It Takes Time

Article excerpt

Byline: TOM BRUTON

Could you please tell me how I can get my hydrangeas to change color? I've lost the information.

It is possible to change colors but not instantaneously. The people who have the most control over the color of their hydrangeas are those who grow them in containers. It is much easier to control or alter the pH of the soil in a container than it is in the ground.

Color correction takes weeks, even months for the desired changes. It is easier to change blue flowers to pink than to change pink flowers to blue, and some cultivars are more prone to color variability than others. Changing a hydrangea from pink to blue entails adding aluminum to the soil. To change the color of hydrangeas from blue to pink means subtracting aluminum from the soil or taking it out of reach of the plant by increasing the pH. Have your soil tested for pH first.

To increase acidity (for deeper blue flowers), apply a solution of 1/4 ounce aluminum sulfate per gallon of water three times a year. Soak the ground with the solution after the plant starts growing in the spring and repeat twice at three- to four-week intervals.

To increase alkalinity (for changing blue flowers to pink), spread ground limestone (dolomitic lime) at the rate of 4 pounds per 100 square feet and water well. Increasing the alkalinity of the soil reduces the availability of aluminum, thus changing the flower color from blue to pink.

Hydrangeas often change color on their own when they are planted or transplanted. They are adjusting to the new environment. It is not unusual to see several different colors on one shrub the next year after planting.

I try to keep a bare area of about 5 feet around my palm trees, but weeds keep growing in these areas. I have tried using Roundup and hand-pulling the weeds, but they keep coming back. What else can I do? …

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