Falling in love with the big showy blooms promised in pictures of hydrangeas can be the beginning of a love affair amply requited, but only if proper instructions for hydrangeas are followed. Read on to learn more about how you, too, can get the wonderful white, pink, and blue hues that beckon so tentatively from gardening catalogs and Internet images.
Learn About Ph
First of all, planting instructions for hydrangeas, and any other plant, really, should always include knowing the ph level of your soil. Have you ever wondered why some plants, no matter how well you water, fertilize, and baby them, never seem to do very well or sometimes just up and die? Yes, you planted in a sunny area as directed, or yes, you planted in shade or semi-shade as instructed, yet these plants defied your best attempts.
Soil testing kits are available at many nurseries and most do not cost more than $15 or $16; many run cheaper. You can go all out and purchase soil testing kits for as much as $49.95, but as part of planting instructions for hydrangeas, this complex type of testing kit is not necessary.
Different Ph for Different Colors
The formula for the different colors of hydrangeas is simple: You will need acid soil for the beautiful blue blossoms, alkaline for the pretty pinks, and neutral soil for the wonderful white blooms. And in order to get your soil to the correct level of ph for the color you want, you must first test the soil as it is now, before you add anything.
Planting instructions for hydrangeas with blue blooms require aluminum sulfate added to soil not acidic enough; lime or superphosphate must be added to soil not alkaline enough if you desire pink blooms. To get a neutral soil necessary for white blossoms, you may have to experiment with both until you get the desired soil neutrality.
Planting instructions for hydrangeas should always include the following: It is easier to go work with what you already have. In other words, if your soil ph is acid, go for the blues. If it is alkaline, be happy with the pinks. And if you have neutral soil, let your white hydrangeas have their way.
The Rest of the Equation
Planting hydrangeas always should include placing them in an environment of rich, loamy soil, no matter what the ph is. You should also put them in an area that provides morning sun and afternoon shade. But that is not to say plant them in deep shade, like beneath the heavy foliage of an oak tree, for example. Planting beneath any tree is not recommended, in fact, not only because of the shading factor, but because hydrangeas love moisture, and trees are known to steal moisture surrounding hydrangeas.
Good drainage is also important as a critical factor in planting instructions for hydrangeas. Although they love moisture, they will succumb to root rot if left in standing water for any length of time. So plant them high, in good soil, and water them frequently with proper drainage maintained.
Planting hydrangeas is not difficult, but you must familiarize yourself with the different types of hydrangeas and their requirements. Spend some time with a knowledgeable nursery person, read books, and glean information from reputable Internet sources to educate yourself about hydrangeas.