Blue Hydrangea Experiment

My front flower bed is an enigma to me. It’s nearly completely shaded by three large live oak trees and it’s been hard for me to adjust my mindset from the habit of planning and buying “full sun” plants to buying only “full shade plants.”

Not to mention the soil was completely neglected and had an exceedingly high Ph level reading at 7.5+ (or alkaline). After bringing up compost from the back and keeping the ground consistently moist I’ve managed to get it down to a respectable 7.0, according to my RapiTest soil tester.

Our clay soils in North Texas are a challenge to be sure!

I’m working on simply keeping plants alive this year and in so doing, I’ve been researching whether or not plants are suitable for the conditions I’ve outlined above… an update to my scattershot plan from previous years!

Well, I apparently missed a big bit of info regarding hydrangeas! I have no experience with hydrangeas. So, when I went to the store and picked out a Twist and Shout hydrangea with a picture of a vibrant blue flower on it I figured, it would bloom blue! Oh, no. Apparently, you have to work for that blue!

If the soil is alkaline, this hydrangea will bloom pink. If the soil is acidic, the flowers will bloom blue. Anywhere in between and you get purple flowers.

Putting the acidic plant in my very alkaline soil seemed to instantly counteract any acidity in the potted soil from the manufacturer. The first bloom that came in a week or two later was decidedly pink.

Come to find out, they make a product for keeping hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons and several other varieties blue! Goooood! I need it.

I was originally considering ordering Bailey’s Color Me Blue on Amazon after having read a good review for it elsewhere. It had mixed reviews from the buyers on Amazon. But, this one in particular was hilarious:

Color Me Blue Bad Review-01

I had already sort of decided against that brand when I had a sudden need to go to Home Depot. So I purchased Miracle-Gro brand Azalea, Camelia, Rhododendron Plant Food and have applied it a few times. Not as consistently as I should but now that the plant is really starting to grow and put on additional blooms, I’m getting more excited about my experiment.
2017-04-20 10.30.29What I like about the Miracle-Gro product is that its water soluble and not a pellet. Even the water turns blue so you really feel like its working! (I’m sure its just a fun die to make you “believe.” ) But the water soluble aspect is appealing to me because it seems like it would have a more immediate effect. If this doesn’t work to my liking I have several backup plans I’m going to enact. I’m patient and love a good mystery so this is going to be fun!

I’m keeping a photo log of my week-by-week progress. I’ve also outlined my backup plans if this product doesn’t turn those hydrangeas flowers blue!

Backup Plans

1.) Try this brand: Soil Acidifier

2.) Go old school, homesteadin’-it-style and add Epsom Salts, which I hear is the original way to change soil to acidic. Being a purist, I’m sort of wishing I’d gone that route.

3.) Purchase a very large pot. Dig the poor thing up and transplant it so that I can control the acidity of the soil a bit more.

Week 1

2017-04-20 10.27.56.jpg

Week 2

The plant has grown significantly! However, the newest bloom is very definitely pink and not at all blue. Feeling very dismayed and a little bit like I’m doing much too little to make a real change.  I’m curious about the other buds, if they have a bit more blue or if they’ll stubbornly be pink as well.

2017-04-27 11.44.20

 

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