Small, family run flower farm in the heart of California.

Loomis Flower Farm Shop
Changing the color of a hydrangea

Changing Hydrangea Color

How to change the color of your Hydrangea plant

Two years ago we propagated our favorite flower, the Hydrangea.  We wanted to create a variety of bloom colors for our Hydrangea loving customers, and to grab attention at the farmers market.  Well, it worked.  How did we do it? So, unlike most flowers, the lacecap and mophead hydrangeas can changes colors.  Fortunately for us, it is as easy as changing the soil pH.  Hydrangeas are the litmus test in the flower world.  Below are the pH ranges, and resulting colors: Acid Soil (pH less than 6.0)           Blue or Purple-Blue Flowers, Between Alkaline and Acidic (pH between 6 and 7)    Purple of Bluish Pink Flowers, Alkaline Soil (pH greater than 7)    Pink and Red Flowers How can you change the pH?  You can get a pH soil test kit to be exact, but that is not me 😉  I had pink, and wanted blue, so I wanted to lower the pH to create a more acidic environment.  To do this, I added aluminum sulfate (you could also use garden sulfur).  I sprinkled it around my hydrangea beauties, scratched it into the soil, and waited for a big rain.  To raise pH, you can use ground lime.  Use the same technique.  Good luck on changing your Hydrangea color!
Dahlia Cuttings from a Tuber

Propagating Dahlias

Cuttings and Dividing Tubers: Dahlia Propagation

Starting to propagate my dahlias this week, and using a couple of techniques.  In this article i will outline how I am taking tuber cuttings to multiply my stock.  First off, at the beginning of my season, i put my tubers into containers indoors, and cover them about half-way with potting soil so i can catch all the action.  Depending on the type, and the warmth, it usually takes a few weeks before the eyes start sprouting, and another one or two before i can start propagating the dahlias.  Below is an overview of the technique:
  1.  Once the tuber has a number of sprouts, I select ones that are 3 or 4 inches in height for my cuttings.
    Dahlia Propagation from shoots

    Tuber with multiple shoots for taking cuttings for propagation

    2.  Once I have selected a Dahlia shoot with two sets of leaves, I then use a sharp instrument (Exacto Knife), to take a cutting.  Note: You want to get a bit of the dahlia tuber at the base to insure the best chances for rooting.
    Dahlia Cuttings from a Tuber

    Take a bit of the Dahlia Tuber with the cutting

    3.  I take off the bottom set of leaves once I have the cutting.
    Dahlia Flower Multiply

    Dahlia cutting with a bit of tuber and lower leaves removed

    4.  This step is optional, but if you have rooting hormone, it can aid in getting the dahlia cutting to root more quickly.
    Dahlia rooting hormone

    Dip the Dahlia cutting in rooting hormone for improved success rates

    5.  Finally, take your cutting and place it in a mix of soil and vermiculite.  The loose soil will give roots free reign, and encourage growth.  Note: I also apply bottom heat and cover the cuttings with plastic to create a complete propagation environment.
    Growing dahlia cuttings

    The propagated cutting ready to grow.

    In about two weeks or so, the baby Dahlias will root.  You can check by gently tugging on the cutting.  
Planting and growing sunflowers

How to Plant and Grow Sunflowers

Sunflower Seeds to Sunflower Plants

Planting and growing sunflowers is easy.  These durable plants can be grown in most area summer months, and can bring great beauty to any landscape or garden.  Below are the steps to grow sunflowers from seed:
  1. So, the first step is to find quality sunflower seed.  Many of the top online seed stores sell sunflower seeds, and quality will insure a higher germination rate for your baby sunflower plants.  You can also harvest your own, and that is detailed here: Collecting and Harvesting Sunflower Seeds
  2. Planting the Sunflowers.  Sunflowers require some degree of warmth to germinate, and the soil should be between 55 and 60 degrees.  The warmer the better, and here in Sacramento, our sunflowers grow like weeds in the high heat of the summer.   Plant the sunflower seeds in groups of 3 an inch deep in your soil, and about 6 inches apart.
  3. Thinning your sunflowers.  After a few weeks, when you have decent size baby sunflowers, go ahead and thin the herd out to a single plant in each of your groups.
  4. Caring for sunflowers.  Sunflowers are pretty hardy plants and don’t need much care.  Insure proper water during early growth, and you can add a small amount of fertilizer if you choose to do so.
That’s it!  If you want more information on Sunflowers, you can see our other pages below: All about Sunflowers
Planting and Growing Sunflowers in the Garden
Growing sunflowers

Harvesting Sunflower Seeds

How to Harvest and Collect Seeds from Sunflower Plants

We are getting near the end of our summer growing season here at Celtic Farm, and have started to harvest seeds from spent sunflower plants.  We left quite a few to harvest their seeds, and wanted to share how to gather.  Below is a guide to gather the seeds.
Sunflower seeds ready to harvest

Drying Sunflower Head

When to Harvest Sunflower Seeds

Skip to toolbar