PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.
Hi Gardenening Friends! This is only my 2nd timeposting a question. I live in Maryland. I planted 2 Purple Lace Cap Hydrangea this past spring. When they recently bloomed in June, they were not the purple color I expected. They were pink more than purple. I've seen people post questions about trying to get their Hydrangeas to be more bluer, but I'm interested in making mine purple or at least a lavender color. Any suggestions? Also, this is my first time planting Hydrangeas. I planted them in a sunny location, which the nursery said was okay, but I think they probably would be doing better with a little shade. They look a little burned out right now. Am I supposed to snip the dead blooms off now, or just leave them until next year and then snip?
Making them purple is going to be a bit tricky...basically purple is between pink & blue so you'd do the same things you'd do to make them blue (add sulfur or aluminum sulfate to lower your soil pH) but you have to be careful not to add too much or else they'll go all the way to blue. It's probably going to be tricky to get them the exact color you want--if you have a particular shade of lavender/purple that you really want in your garden I'd probably look for something other than a hydrangea to meet that need. With the hydrangea, you're probably going to spend a lot of time with it either a little pinker or a little bluer than you really want it to be.
As far as sun vs shade--your summers are probably warm enough that they'd do best if they don't get any sun during the afternoon, but some morning sun is fine.
pH control is often easier in containers than in the ground, but that's more true if you're trying to keep things blue when your soil's alkaline or pink when your soil's acidic. If you're trying to keep something purple rather than going to pink or blue it's going to be a bit trickier to control regardless of whether it's in a container or in the ground since you're going to have to keep the pH in a fairly narrow range, and since it's easier to change the pH in a containers with smaller amounts of additives you might actually find it harder to keep it purple vs going too far and making it pink or blue. Since the color's close to where you want it, it seems like your soil is probably close to the right pH for it so I'd probably leave it in the ground and add small amounts of sulfur or aluminum sulfate if you find it starting to drift a little pink.
Thank you eCrane3 for responding to my question about the purple hydrangea. I've learned a lesson this year that just because the tag on the shrub or perennial indicates purple, it's not always going to be purple. I planned my garden out to be shades of purple and gray.
As for the sun, these 2 shrubs are in it all day. I should not have listened to the nursery about planting these in full sun. They are nice size shrubs, but not too big that I couldn't move to another location. When would be the best time to move them? Also, in my original question I asked about snipping the dead blooms off. Should I do that now?
To be fair, with almost any other plant but hydrangeas you'll get the color that it says on the label--hydrangeas are a fairly unique situation.
For moving--summer is not the best time, but it really depends on how stressed they are in their current location. If they're really getting fried by the sun, then you're better off moving them now before it kills them. But if they're generally doing OK with maybe just some crispy leaf edges then you could wait until fall and move them then.
As far as clipping off the flowerheads now or later, that's totally a matter of personal preference. Some people like the look of the dried flowers and leave them for winter interest, but other people don't like them and cut them off. Your hydrangea won't rebloom if you deadhead it like some plants will so it really has no impact whether you cut them off or not.
One more thing on hydrangeas if you're not aware--this kind blooms on old wood, so you don't want to prune too late in the year (or too early in the spring) since you'll end up cutting off next year's blooms. So if you were planning to do any pruning I'd do it now. They don't necessarily need to be pruned every year though so I only prune mine when they're getting overgrown.
Thanks again eCrane3 for your expert knowledge of hydrangeas. I'm thrilled that someone responded to my question. I've posted under "Garden Talk" a question about powdery mildew on my crepe myrtles, and didn't get one response. So, I'm very happy that you found my question.
I think Garden Talk is more of a chatty forum vs a problem solving one--you might try posting your powdery mildew question in Garden Pests & Diseases instead http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/f/pad/all/ I don't know what your question was, but crape myrtles are prone to powdery mildew, so some years conditions will be right for it and they'll get it no matter what you do especially if you don't have a cultivar that's particularly resistant to it. The series of cultivars named after Native American tribes (Cherokee, etc) are resistant and I'm sure there are others out there too. Some years though even the resistant ones will get it, but if you find yours are getting it every single year you might consider replacing with a resistant hybrid. I've seen some people post about using milk to control powdery mildew--I've never tried it myself but you might look around and see if you can find some of those discussions.
I have been trying to figure out why my blue lace cap baby turned pink when I planted on the other side of the yard. Well I got to thinking today. That is where my husband used old Sheetrock as part of the fill. I have heard that putting concrete next to Clems help them. Could this Sheetrock parts be changing the color?
Drywall maintains a neutral to alkaline pH so yes, it is possible. But you would have to mix the drywall with the soil that the hydrangea is growing in. Or water the drywall and allow the runoff to go into the soil where the hydrangea is planted. Basically you need to get particles deep down into the soil, where the roots are.
More important though, is your soil already alkaline? If it is, it would force your blooms to come up pink as the roots grew from the potting soil medium into your garden soil.
Ah. Then yes. The dry wall has helped to do that. But it as the roots continue to grow past the area with dry wall, your colors may differ such that some areas of the plant bloom one way and others bloom differently.
I see that you also have pine tress too Pirl. I think my problem, besides the voles, Is that I try to force things to grow in places that they just cant. I want blooms lots of blooms, but I dont get that much sun in my yard for a long period of time.
I would sat that from 11 to 2, I get the full sun straight down between the trees. Before that the right side is getting morning sun, then the left gets the evening sun.
My front yard gets more sun because the opening between the trees is the width of the property, but still by 3 the right side is in the shade.
I need someone to come and tell me, Marie put that over there and then put that on that side under that tree, and well place that plant there and they will do better.
Last year I had my helper remove many holly trees and three butterfly bushes. That made a huge difference in the garden with many of the lilies. I won't remove any of the 14 pines since they're my main shade.
I was always trying for the impossible, too, Marie, and I deluded myself into believing if I planted dahlias in shade they'd still get enough sunshine to bloom. Then a friend told me, point blank, that if I wanted dahlias to do well they'd need full sun. That led to my moving over 100 daylilies and my shoulder is still not right after six years.
Now I have the urge to put a shade plant in probably more sun than it wants.