Hydrangea Macrophylla, A Blue Flowering Shrub With The Right Soil pH.

Did your hydrangea bush – which was a gorgeous blue when you bought it – disappoint you with a lack of color this year?  Here are some things to help encourage that beautiful blue next year.

If you want your Hydrangea Macroplylla, also known as the big-leafed hydrangea, to bloom blue, the secret is in the pH of the soil. This hydrangea can be grown to bloom true blue. It can be planted directly in the garden or started in pots and planted in the garden later in the season. The blue is a beautiful contrast to a gray stone path or even a concrete driveway. The blue bloom happens when the soil is very acidic, and flowers show pink when the soil is slightly acidic. In our northern country it is one of the few blue blooming shrubs. Some people like it to be pink because it is a deep pink.

While hardy in zone 4, it is only marginally so.  Hydrangeas bloom off of old and new wood so there is little maintenance, as it doesn’t require cutback or pruning. If it is pruned it will be a smaller shrub, and many of the blooms you would have enjoyed would be eliminated. It does require the owner’s patience in the spring because it takes so long to bloom on the new wood that homeowners are tempted to cut all of the shrub down.  However, it will bloom on new wood even if the plant dies all the way to the ground, as it often does.

Causing a big-leafed hydrangea to be blue or pink relies on how you adjust your soil’s pH. A feeding in spring or the beginning of summer with a fertilizer that is NPK of 10-30-10 should work in the majority of locations.  Don’t fertilize  after August 15, because you want the plant to slow down its growth and to start getting ready for the winter.

Colorful blooming shrubs such as hydrangeas can add a spark to any landscape design.  If you have questions about what plants might be appropriate for your yard, contact the professional landscape experts at ALD today.