To Inspire, Transform & Heal

Linda Wiggen Kraft
Creativity for the Soul

Hydrangea Love & Camera Color Quirks

Oak Leaf Hydrangea blossoms changing from white to pink

Each year I plant more hydrangeas in my gardens.  I love the flowers with their many colors and shapes.  In the last few weeks the hydrangea bushes have been blooming in a symphony of colors from white, to pink to amazing blue.  The colors of all these hydrangeas change as the season progresses.  White Oak Leaf  turns pink. White Annabelle turns chartreuse green. Blue turns purple.  And when the flower petals are dry,  I bring huge bouquets into the house to fill vases and flower pots that look good through the winter and into the next summer when the blossoms start all over again.


Oak Leaf Hydrangea blossoms changing from white to pink



Annabelle Hydrangea – blooms in the shade

Annabelle is the hydrangea I grew up with.  My grandmother had huge bushes in front of her Wisconsin dairy farmhouse.  They bloomed every year.  As northerners we didn’t have the joy of color in the hydrangeas that grew in our cold climate.  The other white hydrangeas of my childhood were the PG standards (hydrangea paniculata)  that grew as small trees.  My PG hydrangea  hasn’t bloomed yet, but it will with white, then green, then pink flowers.  And a new white one I added this year is called Quick Fire, which starts out white and turns a bright pink/red.

Quick Fire Hydrangea – Soon to turn bright pink/red/maroon

Hydrangeas in Color

Hydrangea macrophylla are the mophead bushes that make me swoon.  These are the hydrangeas with color.  The most amazing colors. The blue comes from more acidic soil and the pink from more alkaline.  In most of the Midwest, the soil is alkaline, therefore mostly pinks.  I add sulfur pellets in the winter around the base of each bush and when they start blooming I water with acid fertilizer to make the blossoms blue.  I think it is the genetics of each plant, because I add the same amount to all my macrophylla bushes and they usually end up with some pink and some blue on the same plant.  I have one blue bush (see below) that I want to create new bushes from for its color.

Hydrangea Macrophylla – Three different colors on one bush

Pink Hydrangea Macrophylla with Chartruese Leaves (they are supposed to be yellow green)

 Hydrangea Macrophylla with double blossoms – that blooms on new and old wood

I couldn’t resist this new double blossom continuous blooming hydrangea macrophylla (above).  I’m going to add some acid (sulfur pellets) to the soil to see how blue this can get.

True Blues & Camera Quirks

I am saving the best for last in this blog.  I have a blue hydrangea that I planted about five years ago in my back yard.  It is a jaw dropping true bright blue.  Unfortunately it is tucked in a not easily seen part of my garden, so it isn’t seen often by others.  I see it daily out my kitchen window and fall in love with the color each time I look.  When people visiting my garden see it, they stop in their tracks.

The funny thing about photographing this amazing blue is that different cameras show different colors.  The photo above is from my IPhone camera.  It captured the true color.   Below my Canon SLR (with the most expensive of all my lenses) records this color as lighter and a little more purple.  These photos were taken minutes apart, same day, same light.


In a close-up my macro lens on the Canon camera almost gets the color right, but it is the IPhone that is the color winner here.

I would say that of all my hydrangeas, it is the blue Endless Summer that wins my heart.  True blues are not that common in flower colors.  This is the truest blue of any flowers I grow.  It reminds me of the sky and the sea.


Here’s is some info on my blue hydrangea and others like it.

This type of hydrangea macryophylla blooms on new and old wood.  What that means is the stem that grew the summer before is old wood, and the stem that grows this season is new wood.  Hydrangea macryphyllas until a few years ago only bloomed on old wood, which had the flower buds for the next year and those could be damaged in certain cold winters.  So in St. Louis some years these hydrangeas bloomed and some years not.  North of here, they never bloomed because the old wood lost its flower buds over the winter.  But a new type of macrophylla was developed that blooms on new wood and old wood, meaning every year there will be blossoms.  The first of this kind was called Endless Summer and became available about five years ago.  Now there are other varieties with various names and colors, but for me the true blue is the best.


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