Cherry Explosion Hydrangea
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Cherry Explosion'
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Ooh la la! The tight, compact habit of Cherry Explosion Hydrangea makes it a well-behaved garden or landscape plant, while its vivid cherry red flowers make a bold and stylish statement. One of the smallest hydrangeas on the market, it does not need pruning (in fact, don’t prune it at all!) and its deep green mildew-resistant foliage looks handsome all season. Cherry Explosion keeps its red color in most any soil, developing only purplish centers in acidic soils.
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History and Introduction to Cherry Explosion Hydrangea
Cherry Explosion Hydrangea is hydrangea that should just not be pruned. It flowers on the previous years growth and pruning them back in the spring would remove all the flower buds.
In general gardening terms, pruning is probably the most misunderstood gardening chore, and certainly, the chore that is most likely neglected. When we specifically look at pruning with regards to hydrangeas, this misunderstanding and negligence can be magnified.
Pruning has been described as a “combination of art and science.” I find pruning to be one of the most relaxing yet rewarding chores in the garden. Pruning a specific plant to look a specific way, involves art in creating a unique definition for a specific plant, and it involves science in understanding the physical growing habits of the plant to be pruned.
The most important reason for pruning hydrangeas is to improve the overall health of the plant which in turn will reward you with a plethora of blooms. Many times, Hydrangeas that have not been pruned in a few years will develop dead or degenerative twigs. Removing the dead and dying limbs will minimize the possibility of diseases such as “die-back” and will also allow the plant to re-concentrate its energies and produce flowers.
Another reason for pruning hydrangeas such as Cherry Explosion Hydrangea is to re-define the plant’s definition within the landscape. Many times, a plant may outgrow its intended size in the landscape, and must be pruned to re-define its purpose. Pruning should always be associated with re-invigorating a plant by allowing it to focus its energies on producing more vigorous branches, foliage, and flowers.
Specific plant objectives require specific pruning techniques. If a hydrangea is being trained as a hedge, it would need to be pruned differently than if it were being grown as a tree form. Screenings and hedges of hydrangeas would need to be pruned for their specific purpose within the landscape.
It is also important to understand the specific growing characteristic of a certain hydrangeas when pruning that particular plant.
When pruning established hydrangeas where no labeling is present on a variety to identify it, you need to look at the general growth patterns of the plant to be pruned. These observations should give you a good idea of how the plant tends to grow, and also how and when you should prune the plant.
When pruning large hydrangeas, pruning can be a general shaping or shearing of the plants or it can be a severe pruning that significantly reduces the size of the plant.
Many times, gardeners inherit a wealth of hydrangeas in their gardens when they purchase a previously owned residence. Although these hydrangeas may have been lovingly cared for by the previous owner, it may be necessary to severely prune these plants to restore vigor or to create a different definition in the landscape for the new owner of the property.
If severe, pruning is necessary, it must be realized that the plant will shift its focus in the short-run from setting flower buds to growing vigorously, and it is very likely that the hydrangea will have few if any bloom buds during the season following the major pruning. During the second season following the severe pruning, the hydrangea should resume normal bud setting, and the plant should have healthier blooms because of the increased vigor in the plant.
It is important to always use sharp tools when pruning hydrangeas or any plant for that matter. Knives, hand cutters, saws, and shears should be sharpened if necessary before pruning any hydrangeas. A sharp cut will heal quicker than a jagged cut, which will also minimize the likelihood of disease investing a cut during pruning. It is generally recommended to not use power equipment such as gas hedgers to prune hydrangeas. We recommend a good quality pair of hand pruners such as Felco Brand. These are high quality and if properly cared for will last a lifetime. These are the choice of professional nurserymen around the world.
Pruning large hydrangeas may be minor or major. Its general purpose is to maintain or restore vigor to the plant. Large hydrangeas that have been severely pruned have the advantage of a large root system that has excessive capacity, and its roots are capable of supplying all of its energies to a smaller number of branches and foliage. This enables the plant to increase its vigor, and become healthier. Pruning large Hydrangea’s that are well established will enable the plant to have continued vigor, and lead to many more years of supplying beauty to the landscape.