magic hydrangeas (and aluminum sulfate)

So, remember this?

PINK hydrangeas...

That hydrangea started out as blue/perwinkle when I got it for Valentine’s Day, 2011.

It grew and grew, and then almost died from fungus, had to be cut all the way back (I’m talking one tiny leaf sticking out of the soil), grew *back*, and finally flowered. However, the blossoms were pink.

I knew it would probably happen- I’ve read that if the Ph is off (too high) the hydrangeas bloom pink. They require a lower Ph to retain the blue colors, and that can be obtained by adding Aluminum Sulfate to the soil.

I thought about it for a while. Did I *really* want to put this plant through any more stuff? It was doing well. I wasn’t crazy about the pink but it was *so* healthy and blooming like crazy. Then I had another hydrangea that I got during the holidays this year- it’s much smaller, but growing pretty nicely.

I started stopping in local nurseries and home improvement stores to check out the aluminum sulfate selection and maybe chat up the experts about it, but there was no Aluminum Sulfate available locally and the experts wondered why I would moneky with a flower’s color.

Finally, I just ordered some from Amazon: Hi-Yield Aluminum Sulfate It arrived, I read the instructions, didn’t do anything about it, and finally just added it to the soil. The package said I could do it wet (mix with a lot of water in a bucket- me carrying buckets of water around = bad situations) or dry (add about a cup of granules straight to soil and water well), but no matter how I did it, I better make sure I didn’t get any on the foliage. So dry was the way to go. I carefully added a little bit to my two hydrangeas. And watered like CRAZY.

I did a little research and it scared me. Many seasoned gardeners said the whole Aluminum Sulfate thing was an invitation for disaster. Not only that, but it took weeks to work and only affected NEW growth. What did I do?

I fretted for a day or two, and then… a few days later, here’s what I found when I went out to the garden:

check out the edges!

blue and pink hydrangeas

So, I’m pretty stoked. HOWEVER, my small hydrangea shed EVERY.SINGLE.LEAF. So that was a major failure. There’s already new growth poppingout of the soil so I’m not sure if something was going on with that plant before I added the AS, but it was a disappointment, none the less.

So would I do it again? I’m not sure. I’m watching my large hydrangea for signs of burns, seeing how the color develops. I have to admit, this is *some* show I’m getting. The colors are so crazy cool, it truly looks like someone dripped translucent inks on the flowers. The pictures don’t do them justice.

new blossom coming in more blue...

Bottom line: I would definitely give the Aluminum Sulfate a try on a hydrangea that you want to change from pink to blue, but I would add it in VERY SMALL DOSES, week by week, until the results begin to show up. There’s no need to pour a big batch of it in at once since it works so quickly.

I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, and all the seeds I planted in my little butterfly/humingbird garden on the side porch? They sprouted. And then they all disappeared, sprouts and all. Even some four-five inch sunflower sprouts. I guess the birds had a feast. Oh well, back to square one…

Comments 2

  1. Misti wrote:

    I think the colors turned out well! But, I wonder if there is an organic/not so harsh way to increase the acidity?

    Posted 18 May 2012 at 1:00 pm
  2. Moosie wrote:

    My pink one is very pretty now. I was wondering the same thing about something organic. But I don’t know that I want to change the color now.

    Posted 19 May 2012 at 1:13 pm

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