It always starts the same way, someone will give me a hydrangea plant as a gift, or I will buy one of the beautiful, flowering ones I see at Costco. They look so lovely in our yard for a day or two, and then...nothing.
Here's an example:
Talk about a dud, huh? This one sits in our front flower bed by the driveway, and it sported those dead stalks and bare leaves for 3 or 4 years. I thought maybe it needed some "recovery" time after being planted, but no such luck.
As much as I love hydrangeas, this was not a most welcoming site to come home to. And the two bushes in the rear flower bed boasted an identically pathetic look.
Before I got frustrated and just ripped the darn thing out, I decided to go to our local nursery and see what they had to say. The guys at the big box hardware stores are nice, but they usually have no idea what they're talking about. I wanted someone with real experience with plants!
My nursery suggested trying a soil test first.
When I mentioned this to a friend, she said, "Wow! Aren't those expensive? I looked into sending our sample off once, and it was going to cost close to $40!"
As you can see by the price tag, the soil test I used cost less than $2, and took almost no time to complete!
As you can see, our soil is designated as alkaline, and the nursery suggested adding Aluminum Sulfate to the soil around the plants:
So, last summer, I enlisted T to help me measure everything out, and we added a small amount (following the instructions on the bag!) of aluminum sulfate to our hydrangea's soil.
Wowee---what a difference!
I was so excited and pleased to see blooms on all three of my hydrangea plants this year! The one in the front yard is bursting with pink and purple blooms and the two in the back yard have blue blossoms. Too pretty!
If you have problems with your hydrangea plants, I highly recommend visiting your local nursery and seeing what they have to say. In this case, it was worth the trip for me!
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