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Keeping Potted Hydrangeas Happy, Healthy & The Right Color

Pink HydrangeaAsk The Expert: This is the first time I’ve tried to grow hydrangeas in pots; they are actually doing very well. My first plant was purple that I bought in April, the color now is a greenish color, (very beautiful color). I also have a light pink (called white spirit) and burgundy color. How do I keep the color purple, pink or even blue? What plant food is best, and anything else that keeps my hydrangeas beautiful in pots.  Thank You for your help in this matter. -Juanita

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Juanita,

Eventually you will need to re-plant the hydrangeas in the ground. I am assuming that you have Mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla). These types of hydrangea bloom-colors are controlled by soil conditions, specifically the pH of the soil.

  • To keep a hydrangea pink you would amend the soil with lime.
  • To keep it blue you would use aluminum sulfate.
  • Purple blooms are usually the result of a more neutral soil pH.

This would be done in late winter or early spring.

Once a bloom has formed, you can not change or control the color. So, at this point you don’t need to do anything. However, as the bloom begins to decline (which they all do) the color may change to a lighter pink or blue. Some varieties will change to a light greenish or dusty pink color towards end of the bloom life.

As for fertilizer, feed them once or twice during the summer with a slow release fertilizer. I recommend something with a balance ratio like 10-10-10 or 14-14-14. You local garden center nursery will have this product.

Hope this information has been helpful. Please let me know if you need assistance with anything else.
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To Pot Or Not To Pot New Hydrangeas?

Potted Hydrangea

Ask The Expert: I received 2 new hydrangeas for Mother’s Day, from a nursery, not foil wrapped.  They are both large.  I have one other one that was foil wrapped that I have potted and is now flowering (after 20 months).  I live in San Antonio, TX, which is hot and dry.  I want to know what would be the best option for these new hydrangeas — to plant them or pot them in probably a 15-20 gallon pot each. I would keep them in is partial shade – late afternoon sun, which has been good for my other older hydrangea.  Do you have any suggestions on these new ones and what kind of pots, soil, etc?

Thanks a bunch,

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: Pam,

Since you have one hydrangea that is doing well, I would plant the new ones the same way. Hydrangeas typically prefer a well-drained soil with some sun protect in very hot climates. Different varities of hydrangeas can tolerate sun better than others.

For example: the oakleaf hydrangea prefers a shady area where as the PeeGee hydrangea like the sun.

In Texas, it is best to plant your hydrangeas in rich loamy soil with an eastern or northern exposure (some shade protection could be beneficial, but it will still need a fair amount of sunshine). Make sure to mulch your hydrangeas well to help retain the soil moisture.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if I can Help You with anything else.

Why No Blooms on Camellias and Hydrangeas?

Ask the Expert: Camelias and hydrangeas don’t bloom
All the plants are 2 years old. They all look very healthy. They received fertilizer in the spring (10-10-10)and this summer I was able to give home made compost to all of them. We live in the North Georgia mountains, have clay soil, and they all receive only part sun/or shade. When I planted them 2 years ago I mixed in a mixture of mushroom compost or cow manure compost with planting soil. What am I doing wrong? Thank you so much for your help.  Inge

Forcing Cut Hydrangeas To Bloom

Ask the Expert: We have a small importing company and we bring in 2000 roses on a weekly basis. We have a side biz doing wholesale weddings so last week I imported a box of “mini-hydrangea” in green. Unfortunatly, they are tiny and not bloomed. The wedding is 2 days away. I have re-cut them, put them in fresh water and taken them out of the cooler, but they are still not blooming. Is there a way to “force” cut hydrangeas to bloom? I am desperate! thank you for your response. katie