Hydrangeas are acid-loving plants that thrive in soils where many plants would die. Supplying extra nutrients through a homemade fertiliser will encourage the plant to flourish, sending up deep blue to purple flower heads. The colour of the blossoms will change as the pH of the soil changes so if you fertilise with lime, the blue flowers will slowly change to pink. Normally, hydrangea growers use an acid formulation for their plants.
Just because a plant is considered acid-loving does not mean it needs a different set of nutrients than what is required by those plants considered more alkaline-loving. The difference is in the acidity of the soil itself. Hydrangeas still need all of the 13 elements that all other plants need but, without the acidic environment, they cannot absorb them.
The mixture in which you plant your hydrangea, or the parent mixture, must be acidic in nature to start with or, even if you add an acidic fertiliser, the pH will rise too much for supporting the growth of a hydrangea. Alkalising materials like wood chips and concrete foundations or heavy clay do not become more acidic over time. Use peat moss, pine needles, sand and potting soil to create an acidic environment for the hydrangea before adding fertiliser.
Making your own fertilisers involve using materials that will provide the nutrients that hydrangeas need. You can use natural materials from your own backyard like worm castings, seaweed products, pine bark fines and shredded peat moss in addition to well-rotted compost to provide the necessary nutrients while still keeping the soil acidic.
Using store-bought materials is another alternative in mixing up your own fertiliser for hydrangeas. Make your own fertiliser by using products as if you would for other acid-loving plants -- compost, kelp products, chelated iron, alfalfa meal, Epsom salts, blood meal, boron or greensand. Mix and match these to meet the needs of your soil according to the directions on the packaging.
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