Purple Hydrangea

Plant purple hydrangeas to add a strong wow factor to your garden.
English Country Stone Pathway With Hydrangea Bushes

English Country Stone Pathway With Purple Hydrangea

In the distance, the Kousa Dogwood acts as a focal point to pull the eye through the front pathway along with the low Liriope in the foreground. Designer tip: Soft textures and colors, like in these hydrangeas, evoke a feeling of being able to wander and get lost in relaxation.

By: Julie A Martens
Related To:

Botanical Names: French or bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Play with purple shades in your garden by planting purple hydrangeas. These striking flowers start opening in summer, and some types flower until fall. Depending on variety, the coloring ranges from pale lavender, to blue-purple, to deep wine purple shades. Purple hydrangeas bring stunning beauty to part shade settings. They’re the type of flowering shrub that you won’t regret including in your landscape.

Most purple hydrangea varieties fall into the French or bigleaf group (Hydrangea macrophylla).This group divides the plants into two categories based on flower form. Mophead types have spherical flower heads, while lacecaps open flattened blooms with tiny central flowers ringed with a row of traditional looking hydrangea blossoms. In both types of blooms, you can find purple hydrangea varieties.

Blue and pink Hydrangea macrophylla flowers shift color depending on soil pH. Purple hydrangeas may turn pink in alkaline soil, but in an acid soil, the hues lean toward blue and purple. Hydrangea varieties that fit into this color shifting category include mophead types ‘Endless Summer,’ ‘Early Sensation’ and ‘Blue Heaven.’ Lacecaps that shift colors to become purple hydrangeas include ‘Twist ‘n’ Shout,’ Forever & Ever ‘Summer Lace’ and Let’s Dance ‘Starlight.’

There are hydrangeas that, as they encounter acid soil and start shifting color, never fully move to blue but stop at a purple hue. ‘Merritt Supreme’ produces a purple bloom in acid soil, as does ‘Mathilda Gutges.’ ‘Royal Purple’ is one of the deepest purple hydrangeas, as is ‘Ami Pasquier,’ which yields a wine-purple hue in acid soil. Cityline Rio hydrangea also offers a solid purple hue in acid soil, as does ‘Alpenglow.’

To shift pink hydrangea flower color to purple shades, you can try several things. Add aluminum sulfate to soil where the hydrangea is growing. This helps lower pH, but you’ll need to do it several times a year. The lower soil pH helps plant roots to take up aluminum, which is responsible for the blue tints in petals.

There are a few tricks to using aluminum sulfate successfully. First, the plants should be well established (2 to 3 years old). Make sure soil is thoroughly moist before applying the solution. Add the sulfate carefully and slowly, because it can burn roots. You can also add pelletized sulfur to avoid the potential of burning roots.

Shifting soil pH is a process, and you need to continue to maintain the lower pH if you want to keep hydrangea blooms in the purple-blue range. Some gardeners add coffee grounds and composted oak leaves to soil around hydrangeas to help maintain lower pH and keep hydrangeas purple.

Next Up

Pink Hydrangea

Celebrate pink shades in your landscape with the pretty blooms of pink hydrangea.

Red Hydrangea

Got a thing for hydrangeas? Learn about different types of hydrangeas that bring red shades to the garden.

White Hydrangeas

Fill your garden with the living elegance of graceful white hydrangeas.

Hydrangea Flowers

Learn about different hydrangea flower types and why some hydrangea flowers steal the spotlight better than others.

Hydrangea Bush

Discover what you need to know about popular hydrangea shrubs, including tips for year-round care.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Discover the multi-season interest of oakleaf hydrangea, which tolerates more sun and drier soil than other hydrangea shrubs.

Hydrangea Paniculata

Learn how to grow the beautiful hydrangea tree that’s hardy and tolerates more sun than its French hydrangea cousins.

Hydrangea Colors

Learn about hydrangea colors and how you can change hydrangea color.

Hydrangea Macrophylla

Learn about bigleaf hydrangea, including reasons why you’d want this beauty in your landscape.

Annabelle Hydrangea

Bring the stunning beauty of Annabelle hydrangea to your yard in shades of white or pink.


Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.