Wednesday, July 5, 2017

What are those big Puff Ball Flowers?

            The Hydrangeas are out in force, and they are fantastic this year. The winter was very kind to them, with very little die back.

            You may be wondering about the different colors you are seeing; pinks, reds, whites, and blues.

            The whites are from way back, you probably remember them in Grandma’s yard. Every fall Grandma would whack them all the way to the ground, and every summer they would come up beautiful.

            The reds are probably the new varieties that are out there. The bloom cycles are longer and the colors are more vibrant.

            The pinks and blues you see are telling you the Ph of the soil they’re planted in. Sweeter the soil the pinker the flowers, blue flowers mean the soil is very acidic.

            Most soils here in West Michigan are close to neutral, and therefore the flower color will be in the lighter pinks; add some bone meal when you plant it and the flowers will get darker pink. Get near the Lake Michigan’s sand dunes and the flowers tend to blue up.

            If you want the blues, and you have a Nikko Blue Hydrangeas or one of the varieties that will turn blue, you can amend the soil artificially with Aluminum sulfate. You can even get the bush to have half blue and half pink flowers by just putting the Aluminum sulfate on one side of the plant and not the other.

            The other nice thing about Hydrangeas is that they grow in shadier situations. But, when it comes time to think you want to prune them in the fall or spring, don’t. Let them leaf out in the spring, let them show you what has made it through the winter before pruning off the dead. Only the whites can be cut to the ground and still come up flowering. The others… if the winter or your well meaning pruners bob them back more than two and a half feet from the ground you might not have any flowers that year.

            If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at or post a comment on this Blog

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