Ack! Why Is My Pink Hydrangea Turning Blue?

My neighbor planted a new garden this year (you may remember the photo of lupines from earlier this season–it’s this same neighbor. I am blessed to have neighbors who love to garden!)

It’s a lovely garden and she chose a color scheme of pink and white.   She planted hydrangeas, roses, coneflowers (echinacea species) lavender, sedum,  candytuft (an iberis hybrid just visible at the top left corner of the photo) and peonies–all easy care perennials because she has a young son.

As I was walking by with the dog this past week, however, I noticed a new bloom on one of her hydrangeas and thought “Oh no–a hydrangea with a mind of its own!”  because of course in our acidic soil, pink hydrangeas, despite our best efforts, will eventually turn blue as this new bloom shows. (Actually, in this photo, it appears fairly white, but I assure you there is a decidedly blue tinge to this flower).

By next season, I suspect all her blooms will be blue.  It will probably be equally lovely–but I’m not quite sure it’s what she envisioned.

On the other hand, folks in the deep South and the Southwest, like in Oklahoma where my sister lives, envy us this trait.  My sister grew up in the East and misses her blue hydrangeas terribly.  But because of her terribly alkaline soil, even if she put the bluest of hydrangeas in the ground, by the following year, they would all be pink!

What’s to be done?  In truth, not much.  Even if you can manipulate the soil ph high enough to keep a pink hydrangea pink or a blue one blue (because that’s what causes the color change–the ph, or acidity or alkalinity of the soil and water), watering with local water, and here in the East, our acid rainfall would work against you.

The best chance you have if you live in a place where you want to grow a hydrangea that is fighting its natural color inclinations is to either grow a florist hydrangea in a pot indoors and to water with distilled water.  Most of us don’t want to do that, however.

Or, here in the East, you can try a variety called ‘Forever Pink.’  I must tell you though, that for me, it’s more like purple.  I don’t mind–I love the color–but it’s certainly not pink!

6 thoughts on “Ack! Why Is My Pink Hydrangea Turning Blue?

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