Hydrangea Glam Rock – colour changes in different soils

Hydrangea ‘Glam Rock’ – colour changes in different soils

Hydrangea 'Glam Rock' - colour changes in different soils

The ever-changing colours of hydrangea ‘Glam Rock’

One of our fastest selling shrubs ever, hydrangea ‘Glam Rock’ (sometimes also known by the tongue-twister name of ‘Schloss Wackerbarth’) is a beauty to behold!

The mop-head flowers are made up of a kaleidoscope of colours, so much so that they look artificial. But the magic doesn’t end there; the appearance of your hydrangea bloom can change depending on which type of soil you have in your garden. If it has a high pH level (alkaline), the blooms will have more of the green colouring, whereas if the soil has a low pH level (acid), the blooms will be more blue.

You can see here the effects that soils containing acid or alkaline soil can give. The best way to find out the pH level of your soil is to buy a kit from your local garden centre.

Our horticultural expert, Sue Sanderson, has the following advice: “There are lots of soil testers out there that test by either chemical or electronic means, with greatly varying prices and equally varying levels of accuracy. If you just want to know what the pH level is then you should be able to pick up a small disposable kit from your local garden centre – these are fairly inexpensive. They will tell you if it is an acid, neutral or alkaline soil. These domestic kits rely on the use of a capsule that, when mixed with water and a small quantity of your soil, produces a colour that relates to a colour scale rather than a numerical value. I have used this type of kit myself and I would recommend buying more than one capsule though as it is a good idea to test from several positions across your plot instead of just one place. The more expensive kits will be able to give you N:P:K measurements as well, but remember that these will change each time you add fertilisers and soil improvers to your plot so you will need to retest the area. The more complex and expensive test kits are aimed at farmers, professionals, and garden geeks who would just want to know everything about their soil, but these are over and above the requirements (and budgets) of most gardeners.”

Did you know you can control the colour change too? Hydrangea colourant can be watered around the plant to change the pH of the soil, and therefore change the colour of the flowers!

Rebecca Tute
Rebecca works in the Marketing department as part of the busy web team, focusing on updating the UK news and blog pages and Thompson & Morgan’s international website. Rebecca enjoys gardening and learning about flowers and growing vegetables with her young daughter.

13 Comments

  1. My Glam Rock has now flowered for its second year.
    Last year it had three flower heads which were pink and went darker red as it aged but it showed none of the colour variation I expected.

    This year there are about twenty flower heads but they are all quite a plain pink, the small flowers in the centre are tiny and (if anything) white.

    The flowers have never looked anything remotely like the catalogue photos.
    Am I doing something wrong? The plant is in a container of multi-purpose compost plus an initial feed of chicken manure. I occasionally feed with liquid food and have also experimented with Vitax colourant for the past four weeks (no difference). Photo available.

    Reply
    • Terri Overett

      Hi Tim, from personal experience the best colour variations tend to occur in a more ericaceous soil. It would be worth repotting in the autumn, into a mix of ericaceous and John Innes No.3. I would also suggest feeding with an ericaceous fertiliser and continue with the colourant. Colourant is really a long term project and will take some time to have any effect. Also, try to water with rainwater as the lime which is present in tap water will turn the soil alkaline over time. Hope that helps, Terri

      Reply
  2. Dear Rebecca – I have 2 Glam Rock Hydrangea which are now 3 years old (purchased from you in Nov.12). They are planted in containers on the patio in full sun. They have really taken off this year with an abundance of flowers. Last year the heads were pink/green but unfortunately they are just deep pink this year. The same appears to have occurred as Marion’s above. Any suggestions please.

    Reply
    • Terri Overett

      From personal experience the best colour variations tend to occur in a more ericaceous soil. It would be worth repotting in the autumn, into a mix of ericaceous and John Innes No.3. I would also suggest feeding with an ericaceous fertiliser and continue with the colourant. Colourant is really a long term project and will take some time to have any effect. Also, try to water with rainwater as the lime which is present in tap water will turn the soil alkaline over time.

      Reply
  3. Hi,
    I have an Hydrangea Glam Rock purchased from your sister company over a year ago. It is fairly well established in its pot and I used the appropriate compost to plant it, as all those I put in my garden always go pink regardless of how they look when I buy them! Unfortunately despite my efforts I only got the green/pink flowers last year. Please do you have any suggestions. It was not cheap and bought especially for the flowers it promised. I see it is budding now again. Thanks in anticipation.

    Reply
    • Terri Overett

      Hi Marion, thank you for your comment. We have sent you our response via email. Best wishes, Terri

      Reply
      • Hi

        My Glam Rock are in flower again for the second year and look great but are green/pink with no blue. Is there anything I can add to the soil which might add some blue tinges for next year?

        Thanks

        Richard

        Reply
        • Terri Overett

          Hi Richard. The blue shade of Glam Rock come out best when plants are grown in acidic soil. Whether you are growing in containers or in the ground, you can raise the acidity by applying Vitax Hydrangea Colourant around the base of the plant and watering in. This is available on line and at most garden centres. Hope that helps :) Terri

          Reply
  4. can you please tell me how long the glam rock hydranger takes to mature. being as they are very small plants when purchased.
    ken Sharpe(MR)

    Reply
    • Rebecca Tute

      Hello, ‘Glam Rock’ will take about 12 months to mature. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Rebecca

      Reply
      • I have a “Glam Rock” which is now just 1 year with me. I was a little disappointed last year as all I had was foliage. WOW, this year I have so many clusters of blooms just waiting to open. I am so delighted and excited for them to open, I really can’t wait.

        Cynthia Foster

        Reply
  5. Dear Rebecca, we started our own campaign to support the British economy by raising the profile of products, foods and services that support British £’s in British tills. Our research has led us to some very upsetting finds. As a member of the public, I was most upset to discover that we have lost over 80% of our British flower growers.

    As someone who adores flowers and indoor plants, I think there should be a campaign to bring British flower trends to our homes.

    Over the last few years our homes have been filled with Orchids as interior designers, hotels and luxury homes have made them the “on trend” plant.

    We have found farmers talk to farmers, flowers growers talk to flower growers and so on! Our site is shared with all industries, so we reach a wider audience!

    It would be great if we could get British flowers back on trend in our homes. Love to hear your views!

    http://onlybuybritish.co.uk/campaign-to-revive-the-british-flower-industry/

    Jayne @OnlyBuyBritish

    Reply
    • Rebecca Tute

      Hi Jayne, thanks for your comment. We also agree that it’s important to support British growers and many of our plants feature the ‘Home Grown’ mark. However, it’s also important to remember that British growers face fierce competition from abroad and while plants grown here are of better quality, not least because they’ve travelled fewer miles, they are more expensive because of our high fuel costs for transport and heating. The hope is that, as the demand for home-grown products increases, more will be offered in the future. Best wishes, Rebecca

      Reply

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