Holiday-Inspired Outdoor Decorating that Lasts

Dress up your front porch and yard with these holiday outdoor decorating ideas that last from the first days of fall through the New Year. They look great on a porch or just outside your door.

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Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas

Make the outside of your home as ready for the holiday season as the inside with these outdoor Christmas decorating ideas. Our holiday decorating ideas, including beautiful Christmas greenery, festive light displays, and more, are sure to get your yard Christmas-ready.

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Grow Beautiful Amaryllis

Amaryllis flowers are easy to grow from bulbs and great for adding color to your holiday decor.

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Deer-Resistant Shade Plants

Gardening in the shade where deer are plentiful can be a challenging situation. But there are plants that thrive in the shade that aren't tempting to hungry deer. Although no plant can be considered completely deer-resistant, here's a list of shade dwellers that most deer avoid. Plus, we've added some fun facts about deer that might help you understand them better.

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Shrubs with Winter Interest

A winter landscape has a beauty all its own. An unexpected plant feature -- winter blooms that perfume the air, bright berries, colorful or textured foliage or unusual bark -- add a welcome element to gardens. These winter shrubs will not disappoint.

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Tips for Moving Plants Indoors

Here's a handy guide for moving your favorite plants inside once the weather turns cold.

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Popular in Gardening

How to Get Blue Hydrangeas

If you love blue flowers (and who doesn't?), one of the most popular must-have plants for your garden is hydrangea. These versatile shrubs produce giant ball-shape flowers that look stunning in the landscape surrounding your home, as specimen plants in your garden, and make gorgeous (and easy!) bouquets.

Hydrangeas are sort of the mood ring of the garden landscape. And their mood (or color) is determined by the soil they grow in. The flowers get their color from the pH in the soil. By adjusting the pH, you can turn pink flowers into blue (or blue flowers into pink). Here's what you need to know to change the bloom colors of your hydrangea.

Learn how to select and care for hydrangea.

1. Choose the Right Kind of Hydrangea

Only the flowers of bigleaf (Hydrangea macrophylla), also known as mopheads and lacecaps, can change color. Other types such as oakleaf hydrangeas or hydrangeas 'Annabelle' only bloom in white or cream.

2. Choose Blue Varieties

Look for hydrangeas that are bred to be blue such as 'Nikko Blue', Endless Summer The Original, 'Blue Danube', 'Penny Mac', 'Blauer Prinz', or Endless Summer Twist-n-Shout. The photo on the plant tag will help you choose blue-blooming varieties if the plants are not in flower at the nursery.

3. Measure the Soil pH

Although doing this may sound like complicated chemistry, it's not. All soil has a pH value which measures the acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale is from 0 to 14; 7 is neutral. Soil pH values of less than 7 indicate degrees of acidity. Soil pH values greater than 7 indicate degrees of alkalinity. Use a soil test kit to determine the current pH levels of your soil.

4. Pick the Flower Hue You Want

For true blue flowers, the hydrangeas need to be grown in acidic soil (pH 5.5 and lower). For pink flowers, the plants need neutral to alkaline soils (pH 6.5 and higher). For purple blooms (or a mix of blue and pink flowers on the same plant), the pH of the soil must be 5.5 and pH 6.5.

5. Adjust the Soil pH

When you get the soil pH result, it will be obvious what you need to do next: to get blue blooms, you need to amp up the soil's acidity. You can do that in a variety of ways. Organic acidifiers include sulfur and sulfate soil additives. There are also easy-to-use soil additives made specifically for hydrangeas. Bailey's Color Me Blue (soil sulfur) or Bailey's Color Me Pink (garden lime) change the pH of the soil so you can enjoy the hydrangea bloom color you want. These all-natural products make the soil more acidic (for blue blooms) or alkaline (for pink blooms). Add the pelleted mixture to the soil when you plant your hydrangea.

6. Continue to Acidify the pH for Blue Blooms

Soil pH needs to be regulated to produce consistently blue blooms. Work pH soil additives into the top layer of the soil around the root zone to help keep the flowers the color you want.


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