The Q&A Archives: hydrangea

Question: The leaves die and the flowers don't stay same color. What should I do?

Answer: The leaves of your hydrangea can die if the plant is getting too much hot afternoon sunshine, if the plant isn't watered regularly, or if it has been over-fertilized. Hydrangeas grow best in rich, loose soil, in sites that get morning sun and afternoon shade. The flowers can change from blue to pink (or pink to blue) because of soil acidity or alkalinity. If yours changed to blue, the soil is too acid and you can sweeten it up (next spring); if it changed from blue to pink, the soil is too alkaline. To turn blue flowers pink, sprinkle 3 to 4 cups of lime around the base of the plant. Do this again several months later. To turn pink flowers blue, add 4 tablespoons of aluminum sulfate to a gallon of water, and drench around the base. Do this again three weeks later. The color change takes about a year in either case, so be patient.

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