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Hydrangea colours


 
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:01 pm    Post subject: Hydrangea colours Reply with quote

I've just got back from an evening spent with friends in Donegal town. I was admiring some beautiful purple hydrangeas they had just picked from their garden and it reminded me of my mum's uncle, a Pharmacist, who grew them in old chimney pots in the yard behind his shop.

He experimented with colouring hydrangeas with different minerals/chemicals and achieved widely varying colours from the same variety of plant.

He was an old man when I knew him and the subject never came up. But I would LOVE to know what he was using and what the results were. I know acid conditions give blue plants and alkaline, pink, but it would interest me to know more.

Has anyone got any experience of this?

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was talking to a man only two weeks ago and he was telling me that his father experimented with the colouring too. A handful of iron nails did the trick. I forget which colour it produced though.
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Ado 2
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mother used the Iron nails to produce blue colour. The more acid the ground the bluer the colour. That is where ericaceous compost ( acid ) comes in nowadays and you can also buy a product in tbe garden centre to change the colour to blue too
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I knew about the Iron and from experience I know that lime turns them pink, but I wonder if there is a way of creating new, stonger colours. My friends hydrangeas are a dark purple - quite beautiful.

I wonder if there are any other plants that react the same way in different soils?

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Greengage
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The colours of Hydrangeas can best be controlled growing them in pots, White Hydrangeas cannot change colour unless you pick a stem in flower and put it into water with a dye in it then it wil change until it dies, other than that red can be changed to blue by adding Aluminium sulphate to the soil but you must have a low PH for the plant to take up the aluminium to reduce the PH add grass clippings or organic matter. to change to pink you need to add dolomitic lime to the soil and raise the PH levels by adding peat.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that Greengage. As I said Uncle Will grew the plants in old chimney pots. He must have used differing amounts of Aluminium sulphate and lime to produce different strengths of colour.

Years ago I bought a beautiful dark, purpley-blue hydrangea. Our garden is on 'the Bog Road' and they still cut peat around here. So I was very puzzled the following year when the flowers were an insipid pink. I had a feeling the original colour was too good to be true, but the change was dramatic. Talking to my friend who grew up in this house, she told me 'daddy grew all our veg in the garden and limed the soil to grow them.' That was over 40 years ago. Once the lime is there, it is there for good.

As for dyeing flowers - it should be made a criminal offence! Mad I was in Tesco last week - they had blue orchids - yuk!

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Greengage
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 12:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This time of year I used purchase trollies of painted heathers blue.orange, green. red made a small fortune and growers were dedelighted to get rid of stock.
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Sue Deacon
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can never understand that. Nature blesses us with heathers of all colours and we have to go one better and dye them. Yuk Yuk Yuk!
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