What Potting Soil Is Best For Hydrangeas? - Backyard Boss
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What Potting Soil Is Best For Hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas are perhaps some of the most elegant and beautifully blooming plants out there. They can bring an old-fashioned charm and a sense of luxury to pretty much any space. They are quite easy to grow and become quite hardy if taken care of properly. However, as with every other plant, hydrangeas have a few little quirks that you need to know in order for them to thrive.

One concern of theirs is the type of soil you use – especially if you are to take care of them indoors. In short, hydrangeas prefer well-drained and humus-rich soil to thrive, but that’s not all! So, if you’re wondering why your hydrangeas aren’t blooming, the wrong soil may be the reason.

Down below we have put together a guide for what potting soil is best for hydrangeas as well as some tips and tricks!

Do Soil pH Levels Matter With Hydrangeas?

Close up view of colorful hydrangea flowers planted in pot in garden. Sweden.
Image credits: Mulevich via Shutterstock

Hydrangeas can thrive in both alkaline and acidic soils. However, some types will change the color of their petals depending on the pH levels. At a level of 5.5 or lower (acidic), the petals of the big leaf hydrangeas will turn blue. However, if the level is at 6.0 or higher (slightly acidic, neutral, or alkaline) then the petals will be colored pink. It is fascinating how you can control the colors of the petals by controlling the acidity of the soil!

If you’d like to see your hydrangea bloom in pink, then you might want to look for a soil amendment, such as lime or wood ash, to add to your potting soil. However, if you’d like to see it hues of blue, then you will want to add ericaceous compost to your mix. You can always check your soil pH to control the color of your blooms.

For Blue Blooms

For Pink Blooms

Dissolve seven teaspoons of aluminum sulfate in a quart of water. Dilute two to three teaspoons of hydrated lime in a quart of water.
Water hydrangeas with this mixture thrice in late summer with a 10-day interval. Follow your watering schedule and water your plant as usual with the above mixture.
In spring, water the plant with this mixture four times at a 10-day interval. Fertilize your plant with one teaspoon of superphosphate fertilizer in spring.
Avoid fertilizers that contain phosphorus.

What is The Ideal Soil for Hydrangeas?

Woman replanting flowers, pulling hydrangea with roots from a pot, close-up on hands.
Image credits: RossHelen via Shutterstock

While there are many brands available out there, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for when purchasing potting soil for hydrangeas.

First of all, these plants need a well-drained mix. They also like soil that contains humic acid; In fact, it is the ideal environment for them. The humic acid is fantastic for water retention, which is crucial for healthy hydrangeas. Adding coir or vermiculite is also a good idea. However, if you don’t have access to either of those, you should look for coarse sand, charcoal, or perlite.

The Best Potting Mixes on the Market for Hydrangeas

There are many potting mixes on the market and at a reasonable price. Since you don’t want to be experimenting on your precious plants, we took the time to go through them for you. Here are the three best!

1. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix

Coming from one of the biggest and most famous plant care companies, this potting mix will help your plant thrive. It is suitable for most types of plants but is best for vibrant hydrangea species since it will enhance the beauty of the flowers. While it may look like a simple mix, it’s actually made to meet the needs of hydrangea plants. It contains perlite, peat moss, vermiculite, and fir bark. It also comes with a wetting agent, providing your plant with enough but not too much water. This potting mix will feed your plant for about six months, making it a cost-efficient investment.


Alternatively, you can check it out on Amazon.


2. Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro

Once again, Miracle-Gro comes to save the day, providing its user base with a product that will help any plant thrive. This potting mix is fantastic for indoor growing and will do wonders for any inside-grown hydrangeas. It will give quick results, but at the cost of you needing to control the acidity of the soil.

This is a 100% organic mix containing peat moss, coarse sand, and pine bark fines. These will create the best environment for your hydrangeas. Unfortunately, this mix is prone to fungi and other bacteria, so you will have to pay close attention to it if you want to make sure your plant is safe and thriving.




3. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Flowering Trees and Shrubs

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this brand also has the last entry on our list. This mix is specifically made for flowering trees and shrubs, including hydrangeas since it can imitate their native soil effortlessly. This mix is rich in earthworm castings, feather and bone meal, as well as kelp meal, which allows it to satisfy the needs of pretty much all plants. It is known for helping flowers grow incredibly fast and giving them vibrant colors. Unfortunately, this product is on the more expensive side.


Alternatively, you can check it out on Amazon.


Frequently Asked Questions

Hydrangea macrophylla - Beautiful bush of hydrangea flowers in a garden
Image credit: Mariola Anna S via Shutterstock

1. Are banana peals good for hydrangeas?

Banana peels are excellent fertilizers for hydrangeas, but in order for them to work their magic, you’ll need to use two to three banana peels per plant. The best way to give your hydrangeas some extra help is by chopping the peels into small pieces and burying them around the base of your plant. Be careful not to disturb the root structure because hydrangeas love their personal space!

2. Are crushed eggshells good for hydrangeas?

If you prefer pink blooms, crushed eggshells are a great way to achieve them. Eggshells are known to reduce soil acidity, making it difficult for your hydrangea plant to absorb aluminum from the soil.

3. Can you use used tea bags for hydrangeas?

Used tea bags produce tannins, a chemical compound, that acid-loving plants prefer. Hydrangeas would love an occasional tea shower! Soak used tea bags in water overnight and the next morning or evening use the tea-bag infused brew to water your plants. Remember not to over-water your plants!

4. Is there a way to grow red hydrangeas?

The best way to achieve red hydrangeas is by boosting the soil’s alkalinity to turn pink blooms into red ones! Hydrangeas will turn pink when the soil’s pH is 6.0 and higher. To achieve red blooms, you’ll need to see how dark the pink gets by increasing the soil’s pH levels.

5. What is the best mulch for hydrangeas?

Hydrangeas love organic mulch that slowly releases nutrients into the soil. Anything from fallen leaves, compost, straw mulch, pine needles, and pine bark are great for hydrangeas.

So, Pink or Blue?

Hydrangeas are quite hardy plants. They are fairly low maintenance and, at the same time, can bring elegance, luxury, and old-fashioned charm to any garden or any room. However, in order for them to thrive, they need soil that can supply them with everything they need. Moreover, no matter how good your soil is, they will always need you to apply fertilizer a few times throughout the year.

And while pH levels are quite important for most plants, hydrangeas are not as picky in this regard. As a matter of fact, some of them can thrive in acidic, neutral, and alkaline soils. The only difference would be in the colors of the petals.

The key to growing this beautiful plant is to use organic soil made from high-quality ingredients. Moreover, it has to provide the plant with good drainage, water retention, and aeration.

Hopefully, this article gave you some clarity on what you are looking for in potting soil for your hydrangeas. Let us know if you have any questions or any experience with hydrangeas in the comment section down below.