Buying Blue Hydrangeas For the Landscape

ImageSpring is coming, and if you are already dreaming of shopping for a great landscape perennial, a beautiful addition to any garden includes the bright blue flowers of the mophead hydrangeas.
Often hydrangeas are at nurseries by the bucket load in spring, just in time for Mother’s Day. Hydrangeas bloom in July, so that means most likely they will not have open blooms for you to see. You’ll have to trust the tag for the information as to the type and color of the flower. The trouble with trying to buy a blue hydrangea is that even if it’s meant to be blue and will bloom blue in it’s container, if you leave it there – in your garden, it may change to another color.
All blue flowering hydrangeas are of the macrophylla variety, sometimes called the mopheads. You’ve no doubt heard of the Nikko Blue, and Endless Summer (pictured) which can have blue flowers. Just like the tag here in my picture shows a bright blue bloom for this plant, the shrub or shrubs you choose to plant will advertise a color. The trouble is that your garden dirt will differ from the dirt in the pot. Potted plants are grown in special soil and it can be controlled as to it’s alkaline and acidity levels which affects the flower color of this type of hydrangea. Once you pop it out of it’s little home and it begins to feed in your dirt, it can cause color changes to take place.
This only happens with the macrophylla variety hydrangeas. The paniculatas do not change color no matter what type of soil they have, so when you buy them you’ll know for sure what you are getting. Unfortunately none of the paniculatas are blue.
To guarantee a blue flowering shrub, first test your soil. Buy a do-it-yourself test kit to find out if your soil has the right acidity to create blue blooms.
A pH below 6 means you should have blue flowers. If it’s above 6, plan on pink ones.
If your soil is to alkaline to grow blue flowering hydrangeas, consider growing them in a big pot where you can control the soil’s pH and get the color you want.

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