Summertime is here, in full force! That's how we do it here in KC: one minute it's 60 degrees, the next it's 100. Keeping up with that kind of heat (and drought, no less) can be super challenging in your yard. But we know the secrets to keeping your garden looking fabulous this time of year. Follow along with us over the next couple months as we explore the possibilities in our SEXY SUMMER GARDEN SERIES!
Here's a peak!
First up, check out these amazing bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) blooming like crazy at Pearly Gates Organic Soapery & Homestead in Kansas City, MO. She has her hedge located on the north side.
This phenomenal grouping is at my neighbor's house along the north side of their garden, loving the shade. They are rocking a more pink/purple tint. Hydrangeas do require protection from the hot afternoon sun. They are also a thirsty plant and need consistent moisture to keep those big blooms and leaf hydrated and inflated. Keeping them on the east and north side of your home, helps the soil stay cooler and more moist.
One of the COOLEST things about these types of hydrangeas are their ability to change the color of their bloom. BLUE flowers happen when a lot of aluminum is present in the soil. In order for the plant to absorb the aluminum, the pH must be low, preferable about 5.2 to 5.5. That's a challenge in these parts because our soil it typically filled with limestone, which raises the pH of the to 6.0 to 6.4. In order to change your hydrangeas and keep them change consistently follow these steps.
1. Add aluminum sulfate to the root zone. 1 tbsp of it per gallon of water per plant regularly during the growing season. Water in well to avoid root burn.
2.Test your soil pH and keep it in the low 5's. You can do this with coffee grounds, acidic compost and other organic matter.
3. Fertilize with a product low in phosphorus and high in potassium like a 25-5-30. The last number is the potassium percentage, the middle number is the phosphorus and the first number is the nitrogen.
There are some products out there that area specially package for just this purpose. But generic versions would be just a good and cost effective.
Changing the hydrangeas to blue can be a lot of work. I know quit a few people who have had good luck with growing them in raised beds and pots because of they were able to thoroughly amend the soil before planting.
Summertime gardening can be fun! Stay tuned to learn more about which summer blooming shrubs and perennials we love here at FineLine Design. We'll also offer some tips and tricks to help you and your landscape survive the heat.
Stay cool my friends!