The Q&A Archives: Hydraneas

Question: Im getting married in May 2011. I want to have blue and white hydraneas for my wedding flowers. If I plant them now what do I need to know about them so I can ensure the best blooms for my day. I live in St. Rose LA. What side of the house? How do I make sure they turn out blue & white? Thank you,

Answer: There are three main types of hydrangea, and their flower heads are slightly different. Mopheads are the common type, found in many gardens. They are what most people think of when they think of hydrangeas. Mopheads have large, round heads of compact blooms. The flower head varies in size between three and twelve inches, however is usually found in the middle of this range. Lacecaps are flatter than mopheads. Lacier blossoms surround a cluster of flowers in the center of the flower head. The third type produces panicles and is considerably less well known. They can either be long and pointed, or similar in appearance to a mophead. They will usually flower for very long periods and will tolerate a lot of sun.

As mentioned above, hydrangeas can be encouraged to bloom in different colors, with one or two exceptions. White hydrangeas will not change their colors, no matter what you add to the soil. Hydrangea colors range from very deep pink to very deep blue. The following techniques will not affect the intensity of the color, only the actual color. Intensity of color depends on the characteristics of the plant stock, the weather, and the general health of the plant. Regular fertilizing will probably deepen the intensity of the color.

In general, hydrangeas are pink in alkaline soil, and blue in acid soil. If your soil condition suits the color you want, there is no need to do anything except fertilize and prune. To change the colors, you will need to change the pH balance of your soil, four to six months before the blooming season (i.e. at the end of the previous season).

Turn acid soil into alkaline soil by adding dolomitic lime. 3 cups sprinkled around the base of a large hydrangea, two or three times over the non-flowering season, should produce results by the summer.

Turn alkaline soil into acid soil by adding aluminium sulfate. Use 3-4 tablespoons in a gallon of water, and apply twice, a month apart.

Hope your hydrangeas are beautiful for your wedding!!

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