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Florida (Zone 8b)
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KendallC
Apr 24, 2018 3:02 PM CST
I'm wondering what's wrong with my hydrangea blooms, they are turning a strange color of green.
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Apr 25, 2018 4:53 AM CST
That is normal in my experience. The color intensified in sunlight hiding the green.
Long term, I hope you have a plant that will tolerate the heat.
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Name: Christine
NY zone 5a
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Christine
Apr 25, 2018 5:25 AM CST
If you can, have your soil tested, if I remember correctly you may have to much acidity in your soil.
We do have a hydrangea forum here
https://garden.org/forums/view...

Welcome! To The Forum
[Last edited by Christine - Apr 25, 2018 5:26 AM (+)]
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Name: Suzanne/Sue
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Calif_Sue
Apr 25, 2018 10:14 AM CST

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I LOVE it when mine do those awesome color changes!! Lovey dubby
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Florida (Zone 8b)
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KendallC
Apr 25, 2018 12:06 PM CST
Thank you everyone for the advice! I've kept my plant in partial shade and use all organic soil. today I tested the ph of the soil and it turns out that it is more alkaline than acidic at a 7.5 D'Oh! so I went to Lowe's and picked up some of this to see if it helps fix the issue. Crossing Fingers!
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Name: Christine
NY zone 5a
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Christine
Apr 25, 2018 4:55 PM CST
Thanks for letting us know, Happy Growing, show us pictures in a few weeks Thumbs up
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Apr 26, 2018 3:42 AM CST
Hydrangea blooms of the mophead variety (also called hydrangea macrophyllas) last for several weeks or a month-ish and then begin a plethora of color changes that varies. Most though will add spots with greens and or pinks. Eventually as it gets older, the sepals feel papery to the touch and bloom finally turns brownish. At this point, you can leave it there or cut the petiole string that connects the bloom to the stem.

My hydrangea blooms are getting into the broccoli phase now. I assume those grown further south in FL are a few weeks ahead of my blooms. Since it is quite early for your hydrangea blooms to be getting into this late phase of life (even in Florida), this tells me that the shrub must have been forced to bloom abnormally early in greenhouse conditions. These types of hydrangeas are referred to as 'florist' hydrangeas because they are available for purchase at florists or at grocery stores during times when hydrangeas are not yet for sale in plant nurseries. Once all the blooms are spent, you have two choices: either plant the shrub outside or dispose of the shrub in the compost pile or the trash.

Because of their disposable nature, industry selects for sale just about any type of mophead hydrangea. Some of the selections can have difficulty growing in cold winters because they are winter hardy to zone 7 only. But the buyers cannot tell its hardiness because the only information provided is the terse description of "Blue Hydrangea' on the plant label. In Florida though, they can be grown fine outdoors as long as their typical needs are met. In other (colder) zones, winter issues become more important because these florists hydrangeas only bloom once (they are not "rebloomers" like the Endless Summer Series) and the cold can kill the invisible flower buds that develop in July-September. If the flower bud are killed, we then get no blooms that year.

I once bought a very unusual florist hydrangea that was for sale -blooming- in December. I was at my local Kroger's. After the blooms faded, I decided to plant it because I liked the blooms. If it did not make it, I tried and learned something right? Well, it is still out there.

I am in Zone 8a in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area. When my winter weather is "too" cold for it, I observed that the stems either (a) survive but produce no blooms or (b) the stems get killed and are replaced by new growth in the Spring.

I learned this the hard way so, when I see cold weather approaching below or around the 20-25 degree mark, I cover the bush (it keeps itself small, does not get large) with mulch and remove this "winter protection" in the Spring. This nameless guy (the label just said "Hydrangea") now blooms at its normal times instead of blooming in Decemberish. :o)

The wholesaler who grew this shrub (and yours too) originally decided that it would sell it with blue blooms. To do this, it supplied a soil environment that was acidic and that contained aluminum. Aluminum is what makes the blooms turn blue and the acidity makes the roots able to absorb the aluminum. When the soil is either neutral or alkaline, it becomes harder for the roots to absorb aluminum and the blooms end up shades of purple-ish or pink-ish. Being in a pot and getting watered often makes the soil leech some of these minerals and that could -on a long term basis- change the bloom color. My unnamed hydrangea had blue blooms when I bought it too but, my soil is alkaline and the blooms that came out after I planted it outside are light pink.

I could have amended the soil around it (as mentioned above) to acidify and make blooms blue in my alkaline soil but, that is a pain. I only have one bush that I do this to. It is what I call a "lacecap version of Nikko Blue". The label of the plant said Nikko Blue, which produces mophead blooms like yours. It was not blooming then and got mislabeled. When I got my first set of blooms, I was surprised to see lacecap blooms instead of mophead blooms. I decided to start a "program" to "regularly" amend the soil to get blues buuuuuuut... I would forget to do this so, the blooms are usually a shade of purple. You get purples when the soil is not very acidic but is still less than neutral, etc. Except for that special Nikko Blue shrub, I now amend only in Spring and in late Summer or Fall if I notice the leaves turning light green.

To this day, I still do this amending around that shrub and the shades of colors vary. But I have not gotten blues yet! Hee hee hee. These amendments must be continued forever or else the soil will revert back to its original alkaline state; oh joy! ;o)

By the way, you can tell if you need to amend with a soil acidifier easily. The leaves turn light green or yellow, except for the leaves' veins which remain dark green. The leaves in the picture look dark green so amending the soil is not needed (now). Most soils in Florida are acidic but hydrangeas in pots will require some amendments now and then.

Luis
[Last edited by luis_pr - Apr 29, 2018 6:35 AM (+)]
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Florida (Zone 8b)
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KendallC
Jun 12, 2018 11:46 AM CST
news update: my hydrangeas are doing much better now and have even started to bud again! so happy.
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Name: Christine
NY zone 5a
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Christine
Jun 12, 2018 12:14 PM CST
Congrats Kendall Hurray!
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jun 12, 2018 1:05 PM CST
That's wonderful news.
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Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Jun 12, 2018 5:25 PM CST
Great. Note that the new flower buds will develop their bloom's color from minerals that the roots extract off your soil and off the potting soil. This may yield a different shade of blue/purple ish.
Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Deeby
Mar 21, 2019 10:27 PM CST
I also have a question about the green color. I bought a BEAUTIFUL hydrangea at Trader Joe's. I think it was called Shooting Star. The blooms were pure white. New flowers turned green. There were never again any more white ones so I threw the plant away. I had planted it in a large container. If there's a way to keep the flowers white I'd love to buy another plant. Help!
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Mar 22, 2019 10:51 PM CST
Just like rose blooms often can do, hydrangea blooms go through a series of color changes once the bloom gets old. There is no practical way to delay this aging process. Maybe plant two shrubs side by side instead: the shrubs will not bloom 100% in sync and you may get one or two extra weeks; add another variety similar to SS; keep it well watered so the blooms do not dry out; keep it away from winds that could dehydrate the sepals. Perhaps, one of these days, the nurseries will start selling a "reblooming" version of SS. I bought mine at Kroger's but I kept it.
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Dahlias Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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pirl
Mar 23, 2019 8:02 AM CST
I kept mine, too, Luis. It was sent from California as a Christmas gift and it was a struggle to get it established but well worth the effort.
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Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Deeby
Mar 24, 2019 10:55 PM CST
Thank you both. Yes, that's the one I had but yours has a different name. Isn't it beautiful?
I'm a bit confused-do you mean NEW buds/flowers will always be green? It wasn't that the existing flowers turned green. They stayed white until they were ready to trim off. As new flowers kept being green I gave up and tossed the plant.
Speaking of roses, my favorite, White Iceberg, is always brilliant white in the garden centers but after I have them growing (and healthy) in containers they turn cream color. Really disappointing and frustrating.

Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Mar 25, 2019 5:18 AM CST
Due to the vagaries of weather (which includes the amount of sunlight that the buds/blooms get), immature flower buds may start/open green or even have some yellowish tones. As they get more sunlight, the green changes to white. The best example of this is actually a paniculata called Limelight and its more compact Little Lime.

More shade promotes immature buds. More sun does the opposite. Genetics and availability of soil minerals can also affect it.

After a certain amount of time, white blooms will then gets touches of green, pinks, reds, purple as they grow older and finally turn brown.

I have had regular and climbing Iceburg. As we speak, I have a new C. Iceberg potted and waiting to be planted to replace another older CI.

Rose blooms, and those of many plants, will turn colors as they age. The whites in roses will get shades of yellow, beige, etc. The reds will change the shade of red, maybe turn pinkish or purpleish. Same with azaleas, rhodies, etc.

I agree... it would be nice if they didn't do that. It would be nice if some of these shrubs quickly rebloomed too! Oh, weeeeellllll. Hee, hee, hee! 😊😀😁
[Last edited by luis_pr - Mar 25, 2019 11:44 AM (+)]
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Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Dahlias Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pirl
Mar 25, 2019 7:15 AM CST
My three Limelight hydrangeas change from green to light cream so subtly that it's a lovely thing to watch.







Name: Deborah
Southern California (Zone 10a)
Deeby
Mar 25, 2019 10:43 AM CST
I think I get it-so hydrangeas need all the sun they can get to stay white? About the Iceberg roses, out here they are popular planted around malls and restaurants. In the ground. Probably poor soil. And every single rose, masses of them, is brilliant white. Sigh...
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Tomato Heads Dahlias Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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pirl
Mar 25, 2019 11:23 AM CST
@luis_pr is the pro so I'd defer to him, but here in zone 7 Limelight, Tardiva, Quickfire, and some other hydrangea trees can take full sun, while more typical hydrangeas would (and do) fry to a crisp.
Name: Luis
Hurst, TX, U.S.A. (Zone 8a)
Dog Lover Region: Texas Salvias Roses Hibiscus Plumerias
luis_pr
Mar 25, 2019 11:57 AM CST
Yes and no. If you plant a mophead like SS -for example- in bright full shade, that would promote having immature (green) blooms at first/in Spring. Some mopheads will still produce white blooms from the get go due to genetics while others start lime green always or under some scenarios dealing with lots of shade. So, to promote whites from the get go, give them some sun but not too much, especially in the Summer. How much exactly depends on your geographical location and the time of the year.

In warm climates like yours and mine, I would expose them to sun from morning until 10-11am tops in the Summer. They can take full sun during the cool Fall, cold winter and early Spring but, the leaves/blooms will then fry to a crisp in the Summer when the Sun is way more intense. Sun thru 10-11am is basically what is called "part shade" conditions. PS is defined as less than 6 hours of sun; sun thru 10-11am would give you 4-5 hours of sun. But measure the time it gets sun in the Summer, not now, as the Sun will be more intense then and the sun will be directly overhead then (it is slanted in the Spring)..
[Last edited by luis_pr - Mar 25, 2019 12:03 PM (+)]
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