Shrubs & Hedges
How to Change the Color of a Hydrangea
They're a feast for the eyes: the vividly colored blossoms of hydrangeas. Some are blue, some are pink—some violet, some red. But did you know that there's a little wiggle room when it comes to a hydrangea's blooms? It is possible to change the color of your hydrangea flowers!
Changing those bright hues of blue or pink requires altering the pH and phosphorus levels in the soil. And while attempting to change soil acidity may sound like a tricky task, it’s a surprisingly straightforward process. Any gardener can tackle it with a little diligence, patience, and the right products.
In this article, we're dispelling some common myths and sharing how you can change the color of your hydrangeas with the least amount of effort.
Common Mistakes with Changing Hydrangea Colors
There’s no shortage of misconceptions when it comes to changing hydrangea colors. Some home remedies may work but will require lots of time and energy, with no guaranteed results. That's because adjusting the pH of your soil is difficult to do with only general household items.
Your soil's pH level is the measure of how acidic or alkaline it is. This is what determines if your blossoms are blue or pink. Here are some DIY methods (some good, some bad) gardeners often make when trying to change their hydrangea's colors.
Are eggshells good for hydrangeas' flower coloring?
It’s a good idea in theory: repurpose empty eggshells in order to change hydrangeas from blue to pink. In practice, however, it’s a time-consuming task that won't necessarily work.
If you want to try this method, however, you’ll need a minimum of 10 clean eggshells that have been lightly baked to kill off any traces of salmonella. Then, you will use a blender or food processor to grind the shells into a very fine powder—crushed or coarsely ground won’t do.
Afterwards, you'll transfer 3 to 7 ounces of the powder into a container and spread the dust evenly under each bush. This method is labor-intensive and, even when done correctly, will take quite a while to produce color-changing results (if any change appears at all!).
Can you change the color of hydrangeas with coffee grounds?
Coffee grounds can make soil more acidic, which allows hydrangeas to absorb aluminum more easily and encourages their color to change to blue. Other organic materials such as lawn clippings, pine needles, and fruit peels are also anecdotally thought to help create richer blue tones.
If you opt to try this method, plan to start in late fall and continue for several months. Newer plants that haven’t yet begun to bloom will likely need up to a few years of coffee ground fertilizing before results are seen.
Will using vinegar for hydrangea soil change their flower color?
Vinegar is great for cleaning. However, it is definitely not the best option for changing the color of your hydrangeas. In order to create a noticeable, long-lasting color difference, the pH in the soil beneath the plants needs to be lowered in a steady, sustainable manner.
Vinegar will dilute quickly in the dirt and need to be replenished after every watering or rainfall (becoming quite time-consuming). Plus, the harsh smell can deter worms and other wildlife that are beneficial to your garden, while also attracting unwelcome pests.
Burying a rusty nail to change the color of hydrangeas
Another idea that works in theory is burying a rusty nail to adjust the pH levels in the soil. However, the sheer amount of nails you would need to bury, combined with how long it would take for the pH to change over time (and the need to stay up-to-date on your tetanus shot!), makes this method a less-than-ideal solution.
Easiest Way to Change Hydrangea Flower Colors
The simplest and most effective way to change your hydrangea flower colors is to introduce a specially formulated additive to your gardening routine. Our product solutions are specially designed to raise or lower pH levels naturally, allowing you to upgrade your hydrangeas quickly and easily.
Want to turn your hydrangeas flowers into electric shades of blue? The Espoma Soil Acidifier will work wonders.
Or, if you’re ready to enjoy sweet pink hues, we recommend trying the Espoma Garden Lime to build a no-fuss soil environment for your hydrangeas.