Hydrangea Magical® Cerise

Brilliant deep cerise

Common Name Magical cerise hydrangea
Botanical Name Hydrangea ‘HORTMAGIDACE’ Magical® CerisePPAF
Size 2-3' tall by 2-3' wide
USDA hardiness Zones 5-9
Sun / Shade Part sun - prefers afternoon shade
Soil Average garden soil
Moisture Moist, but well-drained
Disease and Pests None known
Landscape use Containers, Borders, gift plants, urban gardens
Market appeal / Uniqueness Cherry-red flowers open with a frosty hint of pink, becoming more saturated in color as they mature. Dark green leaves serve as the perfect backdrop, for short mounds of richly colored blooms.
Propagation Methods Vegetative softwood cuttings
Bloom Time Spring through early summer on old wood

Angela and Linda’s Garden Notes:

Not all Hydrangeas showcase best as big, commanding shrubs. In fact, sometimes it’s the smaller varieties like Magical® Cerise that win the hearts of the gardener. Perfect for container growing and for placing along a pathway, this petite grower has its own way of garnering attention. Cherry-red flowers open with a frosty hint of pink, becoming more saturated in color as they mature. Dark green leaves serve as the perfect backdrop, for short mounds of richly colored blooms. Magical® Hydrangeas tend to have longer–than-average bloom times, and Cerise is no exception. In its final stages, flowers turn green with high lights of red.  What more can we ask for?!

For Gardeners

Plants should be mulched heavily to reliably produce flowers the following year.

One of the most commonly asked questions at garden centers worldwide is – How do I prune my hydrangeas?

 It’s easy, really! 

First, some definitions:

There are three ways in which hydrangeas flower– those that flower on new wood, those that flower on old wood, and now there are some newer selections that flower on new and old wood and therefore they require little or no pruning each year.

Old Wood means branches that have been on the hydrangea since the summer before the current season.

New wood means branches that will develop on the plant during the current growing season.

Method I is for hydrangea types that bloom on old wood (last year’s branches). Prune these hydrangeas only in the summer before August, before they set their bloom buds for the next year. 

 This group of hydrangeas produce flower buds on hydrangea stems around August, September or October for the following summer’s blooms. If those stems are removed (pruned) in the fall, winter, or spring, the bloom buds will be removed, and there may be little or no bloom the following summer (usually June/July for the northern hemisphere).

Method II is for hydrangeas that flower on new wood (new branches). This type of hydrangea is determined to flower every single year, no matter how they are treated. Prune these plants in the late summer after they have bloomed. They cannot be pruned is in the spring when they are preparing to flower, because you will cut off the flower buds.

Method III is for hydrangeas that flower on both new and old wood. Prune these hydrangeas only if they are getting too large for the space or if you want to remove old flowers.  The best time to prune them is after they flower in the late summer.  If you prune them much beyond late summer, you will risk removing the flower buds that are developing on the current branches.

The next most commonly asked question is – How do I change the color of the flowers?

 To change the flower from Blue to Pink ( does not apply to white flowers like Noblesse):

For hydrangea flowers to be pink, the plants must not take up aluminum from the soil. If the soil naturally contains aluminum, you must try to keep it away from the hydrangea’s system. Try this if you would rather have pink flowers:

  •  Add dolomitic lime several times a year. This will help to raise the pH. Shoot for a pH of about 6.0 to 6.2 (If it goes above 6.4 hydrangeas may experience an iron deficiency, which will make their leaves turn yellow). Since hydrangeas take up aluminum best at lower pH levels, raising the pH will help to keep the bluing effect of aluminum out of the hydrangea’s system.
  • Use a fertilizer with high levels of phosphorus. Phosphorus helps to prevent aluminum from creeping into the system of the hydrangea. Choose a fertilizer close to the ratio of 25/10/10 (Phosphorus is the middle number)
  • In areas that naturally produce blue hydrangeas (soils with aluminum), consider growing pink hydrangeas in large pots. If hydrangeas are grown in pots, it would be best to use potting soil, not garden or top soil, since these mixes should not have aluminum in them. In a pot, it will be much easier to control the requirements for growing pink hydrangeas.

 

To change the flower from Pink to Blue:

 To make hydrangea flowers blue, aluminum must be present in the soil. To ensure that aluminum is present, aluminum sulfate may be added to the soil around the hydrangeas.

We recommend that a solution of 1/2 oz (1 Tbsp) aluminum sulfate per gallon of water be applied to plants throughout the growing season. Important: Make sure your soil is a little wet before you do this because the mixture can burn dried out roots.

To make the aluminum available to the plant, the pH of the soil should be low (5.2-5.5). Adding aluminum sulfate will lower the pH of the soil. Another method for lowering the pH is to add organic matter to the soil such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, grass clippings etc.

If the soil naturally contains aluminum and is acidic (low pH) the color of the hydrangea will automatically be blue and/or purple.

The choice of fertilizer will also affect the color change. A fertilizer low in phosphorus and high in potassium is helpful in producing a good blue color (25/5/30 is good). Potassium is the last number). Super-phosphates and bone meal should be avoided when trying to produce blue.

Note 1: Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to turn a hydrangea blue forever if it is planted in soil with no aluminum and that is highly alkaline (chalky). You have to be very diligent in keeping the soil properly conditioned on a continual basis as stated above.

Perhaps the best idea for growing blue hydrangeas in an area with alkaline soil is to grow them in very large pots using lots of compost to bring the pH down. Our recommendations for bluing also work for a potted plant. Reduce the strength of the Aluminum sulfate to 1/4 oz per gallon of water. In a pot, it is much easier to control the requirements for bluing and since these are hardy to USDA zone 5, most of you should be able to grow the Everlasting™ Series in a pot outside and leave it outside all winter.

Note 2: Planting hydrangeas near a concrete foundation or sidewalk will often affect the color since the pH of the soil may be raised considerably by lime leaching out of these structures, making it difficult to obtain blue.