If you want blue hydrangeas next July, now is the time to add the proper fertilizer to turn the soil acid. The simple way is to look for plant food at the nursery that is made specifically for turning your hydrangeas blue:
Acid soil produces a low PH soil and blue flowers, while a raising the soil PH with lime gives you pink flowers. (Note: white hydrangeas cannot change color so if you want blue, begin with a pink blossom) While you can change the color of a plant in the ground, for beginners, it’s easier to try it with a potted plant. First, and most importantly, measure your pot! I thought mine was about 20″ and it ended up larger:
Be sure to use a measuring spoon. This is not a good time for guessing…too much and you can burn your plant…too little and you’ll still have pink blooms! Carefully follow the directions, which in this case called for l tablespoon for each 4 inches of pot diameter. For a plant in the ground it called for 1 l/4 to 2 1/2 cups.
And, I hope that’s true, since this is one plant adventure I’m trying for the first time myself! If you get a chance to go to the Master Gardener series of garden talks, presented free of charge at our local libraries, don’t miss the Hydrangea talk by Carlyss Van Ness. She is extremely knowledgeable and has years and years of experience growing over a 100 hydrangeas! I will be visiting her garden in July and I’ll be sure to post pictures! You can find a list of future presentations here: http://ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/ (look for “workshops”).
If you try turning your hydrangeas blue let us all know how it turns out! I’ll leave you with a lovely blue hydrangea that I received as a gift after photographing a wedding….just in time to remind me how beautiful blue hydrangeas can be and that I’d better get that acid in the soil if I want some come summer! I’ll repeat the dose in 60 days per the instructions and we’ll see what happens!