San Diego Real Estate Voice : Hydrangeas Can Change Color

Hydrangeas Can Change Color

Hydrangeas Can Change Color

Hydrangeas Can Change Color

When I selected my own Hydrangeas, I wanted the Blue Purple variety. While I was reading up on them to learn how to care for them, I discovered that you can actually control the color. Allow me to add, this is true only sometimes, because where they are planted can have a strong affect on the color as well. You can better control the color when you raise the Hydrangeas in a large garden pot. 

Using Aluminum Sulfate in the soil of a potted Hydrangea will tend to make the flowers more blue or purple. Using a fertilizer high in phosphate will tend to make the flowers more pink. 

Take those same plants and plant them in the ground near a sidewalk and you will notice that even if you start out with blue colored plants, they will soon turn pick. The lime from the concrete leaches into the surrounding soil and it has a higher Ph and that changes the blue flowers to pink. 

Garden centers sell fertilizer for both generating the blue color and for generating more pink tones. If you happen to be blessed with a white variety, don't bother trying to change the color because white stays white to a pale greenish cast forever. That is what Mother Nature intended and she doesn't take too well to being messed with. 

I recently bought a new Hydrangea for a large pot and the first thing I did was to remove the flowering heads ( deadheading) and then started to add some used coffee grounds to the soil.  That tends to lower the Ph which helps offset the high calcium content of our water. That was 4 weeks ago and the new growth is just amazing. The plant, when it finishes growing out with the new growth will be about twice the original size. Before Fall sets in, I expect to have some large beautiful Blue/Purple blooms. I will be sure to show them here when the blooms come out.

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Comment balloon 33 commentsWilliam Johnson • July 26 2014 03:52PM


William- ok, I'm pea green with envy!!!!   Purple is my favorite color and those are beautiful.  I'm not sure if we can grow hydrangeas in Florida but I may try. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 6 years ago

How about that? I did not now you could somewhat change ( or preserve ) the color! Thanks William.

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado) almost 6 years ago

Hi Kathy, I think you can. Start with raising them in pots. 

Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) almost 6 years ago


I have always really liked hydrangeas - so much more common back in New England - in all the different colors. I certainly learned more than I ever thought I would know about them from your post.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) almost 6 years ago

William, We get a lot of used coffee grounds (for free) from Starbucks for use with our azaleas.  Same basic deal, controlling the ground acidity to keep them healthy.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 almost 6 years ago

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 6 years ago

Note to Kathy 

Go on-line to buy them. You will tend to get stronger plants than trying to locate where you live.


Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) almost 6 years ago

We save the grounds starting in early Feb and mix them around the bases of our hydrangeas. The colors are brilliant

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 6 years ago

Good morning William. I love hydrangeas and have been pretty lucky with them. I had various colors in my former home and they were healthy and big. Working on them here now.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) almost 6 years ago

I knew a lot of this as I'm always looking for mine to be blue/violet as that's the color of my house. But I must admit I get a bit lazy about doing it.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) almost 6 years ago

William-I did know about the ability to chg their color but I still learned more from reading this. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge. I have I think 4 hydrangeas. They are small right now and haven't bloomed yet

Posted by Sharon Lee, Retired and loving life (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) almost 6 years ago

William, we don't have hydrangeas here but I did know about the ph causing the color changes.  Quite an interesting phenomena.

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) almost 6 years ago

Hydrangea are my favorite flower.  When we bought our first home in  1980 we transplanted some from my in-law's home.  We took some with us when we moved to our second home and than again when we moved into our current home.  I hope to always have them wherever I live.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) almost 6 years ago

We have them here and my aunt is a color genius. She has blue, pink, green, white and a lovely lavender....she mixes the additives and makes them really amazing. 

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) almost 6 years ago

Hydrangeas are my very favorite and I also think they do better with a sandy soil.  I always notice that ones in a beachy area are stunning.

Posted by Liz Wallace, Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N (Century 21 Sherlock Homes) almost 6 years ago

They are beautiful and fairly simple to keep alive and pretty.  That's my bonus with them.  I do not have a green thumb.

Posted by Cindy Edwards, CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677 (RE/MAX Checkmate) almost 6 years ago


Yes, they can, and I love how they do that.  I had some outside our breakfast nook in LA.  They are a beautiful plant.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) almost 6 years ago

William- ok... I have tons of coffee grounds, and I'm going to look online.  Thanks for the tip. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 6 years ago

William - I always use my coffee grounds on my plants--roses thrive on coffee grounds as well.

Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) almost 6 years ago

My mother loved Hydrangeas!  I learned early on about their changing color.  I remember that my dad had a friend, who worked in a metal shop.  Dad would often bring home the metal shavings and put them around the base of the plants, to keep them blue. Hydrangeas definitely have a mind of their own when it comes to color!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) almost 6 years ago

William, lovely picture and yes, you reminded me of my Biology lessons way!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) almost 6 years ago

Good morning William,

I'm so glad I read Kathy's Sunday post and caught your post as one of her favorites for the week. I can certainly see why..I love hydrangeas and never knew you could help change their colors!! Great information and will be looking for your post in the fall when your plants bloom!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) almost 6 years ago

We have oak leaf Hydrangeas and I just live the white- every year people come over to cut and use in their wedding center pieces- don't think I will be experimenting on changing their color anytime soon.  Thank you for the information William.

Posted by Mark Peter Lynch, Think Mortgage, Think Mark!! (Residential Mortgage Services) almost 6 years ago

William, I've been having terrible luck with these beauties.  I'm going to try it your way.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (Redfin) almost 6 years ago

Wow William this one caught the interest of the community:) Great photo and explanation, Endre

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) almost 6 years ago

Thanks to you and Kathy I'm getting quite an eyeful and an earful of great information.  I'll be looking at the soil a lot closer next time I see these colorful beauties. 

Posted by Kevin J. May, Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida (Florida Supreme Realty) almost 6 years ago

This is good information. Hydrangeas are popular in our area and I see several colors during my photowalks through the community.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) almost 6 years ago
Hi Roy, I wanted the Blue color for the pot that I have on the patio. But I will say, the varied colors are really quite wonderful and for most, the beauty is in the variety of colors they produce without to much interference with the selection of the fertilizer.
Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) almost 6 years ago

I knew this about Hydrangeas too and also love the beautiful blue violet ones.  I did not, however, know that about coffee grounds!  I just met with my landscaper about my new house garden and added some Hydrangeas - absolutely one of my favorites!  Now I know how to get those thick, lush leaves!!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 6 years ago

Hi Debe, In the very early  Spring after any chance of frost has passed, be sure to deadhead the plants and then add the special aluminum sulfate and you will be so pleased with the results.

Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) almost 6 years ago

Thanks William!  I will give my hydrangeas some coffee grounds before they bloom this season to see what happens!  I just love them!  Such hardly flowers and a late summer offering.

This past winter was really hard on some plants and a few friends of mine who have hydrangea commented on how this spring they had to cut the dried stems from last season. Unlike some winters before that were mild, the dormant stems often rebounded with green shoots, but not this spring.  New shoots only came out closer to the ground. Maybe the blooms will be more glamorous because of the hard winter!


Posted by Gloria Todor, & Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA (Century 21 Absolute Realty ) almost 6 years ago

Good morning William. This is excellent and really true as well. I had them in NJ. I missseeing you here. 

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 1 year ago

Hi William Johnson - Those are beautiful flowers and I am sure they are going to get even better and more healthy. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Realty) about 1 year ago

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