Care of Blue Hydrangea

Overview

Hydrangeas are tall, bushy shrubs with coarse leaves that produce big, round clusters of flowers. The most common variety grown in the United States is Hydrangea macrophylla, which grows to between four and eight feet tall and blooms pink, red, blue or white. The acidity of the soil in which it's planted determines what color the flowers will be. For hydrangeas to flower blue, they need acid soil.

Step 1

Choose a site for your hydrangeas where they'll get some shade and where the soil is moist but drains well. Dig up the spot where you'll plant the hydrangeas, deep enough to hold the plants upright. If drainage is a problem, add compost to the dirt till the mixture is light and loamy.

Step 2

Put the hydrangea plants into their holes and cover their roots well.

Step 3

Water your hydrangeas well and regularly, especially if you live in a hot climate.

Step 4

Prune hydrangeas in the winter time, cutting off as much as one-third of the old stems to encourage new growth. To control height, prune the top of the plant.

Step 5

In the spring, prune out any dead growth. If, after the plant greens out, it is putting out stems from its base while the top stems remain bare, cut off all the stems coming up from the base.

Step 6

To keep your hydrangea flowers blue, make sure your soil is acidic, with a pH of 5.5 or lower. Have your soil tested by sending a sample to a laboratory. Most state agriculture departments offer these tests to residents free of charge (see Resources section). If you find that your soil is too alkaline to keep your hydrangeas flowering blue, ask the agent who helped you with the soil test how you should amend the soil to correct the problem.

Tips and Warnings

  • If your hydrangeas become infested with aphids, treat the plants with insecticidal soap or spray. If you find mites on the plants, water them more often, especially during hot weather. Hydrangeas also sometimes suffer from powdery mildew, rust and fungal infestations, but these problems, while unsightly, rarely seriously hurt the plant.

References

  • Garden Hydrangea; Sunset Plant Finder; Sunset Magazine
  • Hydrangea Questions and Answers; United States National Arboretum

Who Can Help

  • Soil Testing; North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • Climate Zones; Sunset Magazine
Keywords: blue hydrangeas, acidic soil, soil testing

About this Author

Cheyenne Cartwright has worked in publishing for more than 25 years. She has served as an editor for several large nonprofit institutions, and her writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including "Professional Bull Rider Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Oklahoma Christian University and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Tulsa.