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If you’ve ever wanted to turn your pink hydrangeas to blue or blue to pink, the secret is in the soil! This post covers the fertilizers and conditions (some DIY, some you can buy) that help hydrangeas change color.

The beginning of summer is one of my favorite times of year. The days stretch, my spring allergies finally start to subside, and I get really excited to tackle more of my to do list (yet somehow, still make it longer). But, I think my favorite thing of all is when the hydrangeas start growing in.

blue mophead hydrangeas

I may not like how spindly they look during the winter months (because they turn into depressing bundles of sticks), but when their beautiful mophead blooms return, I’m always reminded that they’re worth their winter ugliness!

(By the way, this post includes affiliate links* — I only recommend products I love, but linking to affiliates provides me the essential things I require to write this blog… like beer money.)

blue mophead hydrangae

The hydrangeas are all growing in taller and healthier than ever. When spring rolls around, they form new leaves and buds that shoot off from their existing stalks, so I resist the urge all winter long to not trim down the sickly-looking branches in order to reap the rewards when things start to bloom again. This year, my patience really paid off, and the ones in the back yard against the house have seen the biggest benefit (they were petite back in 2013 when I planted them). In 2016, they looked like this:

healthy hydrangeas spring

And in 2019, they grow out of control, especially around the new deck!

hydrangeas same spot

Since I have three healthy plants of the same type which bloom and rebloom all summer long — I think this will be the first year that I try to propagate new ones from the existing plants. I’ve just bought some root hormone, so I’ll create a tutorial on that for you in a month or so if I manage to actually make them grow (I may have enough dead or dying plants in my gardening history to be Tim Burton’s botanist, but I’m getting better each year!).

yellow and blue hydrangea blooms

The one in the front yard flowers in shades of blue, but the ones in the back of the house tend to grow in pink and purple. They are all the same variety, but the color of the flowers are determined by one simple secret: it’s the acidity in the soil.

How to Change Pink Hydrangeas Blue

You can enrich blue hydrangea coloring with soil fertilizers (this one for blue), or you can try some home remedies (I sprinkled the soil in the back with coffee grounds over the winter to help increase acidity, but it may take a few seasons to see a true color change). The pine straw that I’ve had naturally falling around the plants also increase acidity.

new hydrangeas blooming

How to Make Blue Hydrangeas Pink

Conversely, if you want to change your blue or purple hydrangeas to a pink hue, you can do so with a separate soil fertilizer like this one. Garden lime is pretty much the only way when the soil is too acidic and it’s changing blue on its own (you would do well to remove the things that might contrinbute to it too, such as removing pine straw mulch if you’re able).

With either change, it’s going to take time for the color to change. Be patient! However, I will add that fertilizers tend to change things more quickly and more vividly. I (obviously) prefer the more natural approach to their care, so I only use coffee grounds and pine straw. In fact, I love the huge variety of color I now get!

hydrangea in large blue vase

Want to see more? Check out the video:

Other plants have also been growing like crazy around the front and back yards, but that will be for a future time, another post. For now, I’ve got to get back to work on updating the area around the A/C unit; I’ll have new pictures up in just a day or two!

how to grow blue hydrangeas

How about you? What’s blooming in your yard this month?

More Hydrangea Guides & DIY Ideas

*A quick word on “affiliate links” and my reference to them: you will see me often disclosing that I’m using “affiliate links” in posts when recommending products; all this means is that if you click and buy that product as a referral from my site, I am compensated — usually just cent or two at a time — for having linked to the thing I’m talking about. Basically, it’s just a means of earning an income for something I’m already doing (i.e. completing projects and explaining what I use to accomplish them), but this doesn’t impact or increase the cost of the items purchased. If you read blogs regularly, these disclosures may get a little repetitive at times; laws in the U.S. & around the world now require the use of both specific language and specific placement within content. These things are always changing, too, kind of like the adulting version of Simon Says. I’ll try my best to make it entertaining enough for you guys that it stays fresh. So this time, “thanks for the beer money” — it keeps me writing and far more enjoyable around my friends and family (which means they thank you, too). x0x0

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11 Comments

  1. They should propagate pretty easily for you from cuttings. That’s how they do the ornamental ones sold at Easter and Mother’s Day.

  2. I love hydrangeas, too. Here in CT I’m still waiting to see if the old wood leafs and blooms. We had a couple of late cold snaps that may have hurt them … new growth coming at the base though. My first bloom is an iris – white with apricot and my black one and my white reblooming “Immortality” are next up!

  3. I absolutely love hydrangeas! They are my favorite. One of the only true blue flowers. Thanks for posting! I love your blog!

    Ginger

  4. I love the blue Hydrangeas! In AZ, it warms up quickly. While we’ve lost our petunias, I’m excited to see our Lantana and Vinca take off. (fingers crossed!)

  5. Hello again,
    It seems I’ve fallen into a beautiful blooming rabbit hole! I was wondering about turning your hydrangeas blue. We’ve added used coffee grounds to ours to help turn them blue. How much of the fertilizer do you use? Do you apply it just once in the winter, or multiple times? How much is too much?

    Our hydrangeas this year are somewhat small, because they were snapped by two separate frost incidents, although I covered them, they still shriveled up both times, but they have come back. The plants are just smaller than they have been in years past. One has the beautiful mopheads, the other is lagging behind a bit, but it’s coming along. We have two plants, each a slightly different variety.

    1. Oh, also, I wanted to make you aware that the fertilizer you recommended is no longer available on Amazon.

      1. Thank you! I’ll update the post (I hate it when those links expire; they take me forever to replace because there’s no notification for when they do!).

        1. You would think if they have you hawking them, they’d be extra incentivized to alert you. Clearly they didn’t ask me. It didn’t make a big difference to me, but I thought you should know. :)

    2. From what I know with the coffee ground method, I’ve heard it can take quite a while (you’re only adding a tiny amount of acidity at a time). Mine were already bluish and this just perked them up a bit. So if you want a faster change, you have to go with the special fertilizers. I haven’t used them much because I love the variety I get and am not really trying to get a specific color. Here’s an updated link on the fertilizer. The manufacturer will say on the back how often to add.

      1. Thank you so much! I’m learning more about gardening every day! My neighbor only uses the coffee grounds, and hers are a gorgeous blue!