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Hydrangea Magic: Changing Bloom Colors

Blue HydrangeaA common question we get from gardeners each year is: "Why are my blue Hydrangeas pink, or, Why are my pink Hydrangeas blue?" The answer is really quite simple (and no, it’s not magic). The color of your Hydrangea blooms are directly linked to the PH levels of your soil.

Knowing this important information means you can easily (well, somewhat easily) change the color of your Hydrangea blooms! Alkaline soil produces pink blooms and acidic soil produces blue blooms. The first step in determing the PH of your soil is to do a soil PH test to determine the acidity of your soil.

Blue to Pink: A test result below 7 means that your soil is acidic (blue blooms). To raise the PH of your soil (to turn blooms pink), try adding limestone – most packages will tell you how much to add to increase your PH to the correct levels.You can also try using a fertilizer with high levels of phosoporus in it. This helps keep the aluminum in your soil from entering the root system of your plant. Pink HydrangeaIf you can’t seem to lower the acidity in your garden beds, consider planting in pots.

Pink to Blue: A test result above 7 means that your soil is alkaline (pink blooms). To lower the pH of your soil (to turn blooms blue), you can add things such as sulfur, compost, pine needles, or pine bark. This will help to add some acidity to your soil. You can also try an organic fertilizer that is low in Phosphurus and high in Potassium.

The best success rate comes from gardeners who grow their Hydrangeas in containers, which allows for them to completely control the acidity of the soil with no outside factors.
Also note that it is easier to change a pink Hydrangea to blue than blue to pink. Other colors of Hydrangea cannot change colors with soil acidity.

What experience do you have changing the colors of your Hydrangeas? Please post in the comments below or on our Facebook Page. Happy Gardening!

February 8, 2014 · Amanda Shepard · 7 Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: Gardening in Fall, Gardening in Spring and Summer, How-Tos, Perennials

7 Responses

  1. Dori Becker - February 9, 2014

    What is the name of a product I can search for to increase acidity. I have plenty of pine needles, etc, but am still having no luck turning my originally blue hydrangeas back to blue. Thanks!

  2. Ellen Wahlberg - February 9, 2014

    Hi…I have WHITE hydrangeas. Would it be possible to turn them pink or blue? I would love some color!!

    Thank you,

  3. mary - February 9, 2014

    I cannt get mine to bloom, I have had them for 6 years or more they grow and very green but nothing, no flowers nothing.. what do I do i love hydrangeas

  4. Mike Lizotte - February 10, 2014

    Hello Dori,

    If you have a lot of pine needles present, that’s certainly a good sign that your soil is probably on the acidic side. I would recommend testing so you have a base line to begin with. Another common way to speed this process up is to add some sulfur powder. The organic breakdown of your pine needles will also help.
    Good luck and keep us posted on progress!

    Mike “The Seed Man”

  5. Mike Lizotte - February 10, 2014

    Hello Ellen,

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news but white hydrangeas are almost impossible to change to other colors. I might recommend trying a Blue or Red variety and changing colors with these. These colors tend to be a little easier.
    If you’re wanting further information let me know and I can e-mail right over.

    Thanks and Happy Gardening!

    Mike “The Seed Man”

  6. Mike Lizotte - February 10, 2014

    Hello Mary,

    Where are you located? Have you fertilized or done a previous pruning? What varieties did you plant?

    Let me know and I would be more than happy to provide further information and hopefully we can get you some blooms!

    Mike “The Seed Man”

  7. Marion Hickman - February 10, 2014

    Aluminum sulphate for blue, miracid for pink.