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How Can I Change My Hydrangea’s Color?

The blooms of some hydrangeas change color naturally, most notably panicle hydrangea, which goes from white to pink as it ages. Mountain and French hydrangeas are the only common types on which the flower color can be altered. The bloom hue indicates the pH of the soil. In very acid soil (pH below 6), flowers turn blue. In alkaline soil (pH above 7), flowers turn pink or even red. In slightly acid or neutral soil (pH 6 to 7), blooms may be purple or a mix of blue and pink on a single shrub. Keep in mind that selections vary in their sensitivity to pH. For example, ‘Ami Pasquier’ stays crimson in all but the most acid soil, and ‘Purple Tiers’ remains purple. To make soil more acid, just sprinkle a 1⁄2 cup of garden sulfur over the soil beneath the hydrangea, and water it in. To make it more alkaline,  do the same with lime. Endless Summer Color Me Pink and Color Me Blue products supply pelletized lime and sulfur respectively. Depending on the size of your plant and your soil conditions, you may need to apply it several times. Be patient; results may take months.

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