The base color for the Summer Crush Hydrangea is red. Most of the time you will see it in red, but sometimes it can change depending on several factors.
Summer Crush Hydrangea can change color and it depends on the pH. In acidic soils, the color will be purple and in neutral soils, it will be pink or pink-red. In alkaline soil, it will be bright red. By manipulating the soil pH and the number of certain elements in the soil you can change the color of this hydrangea a bit.
Also, if you need more information about caring for Summer Crush be sure to check this post.
How to change color?
To be precise, the color changes are not due to the pH, but due to the presence of aluminum and phosphorus in the soil. In acidic soils, it is easier for the plant to absorb aluminum and in neutral or alkaline soils it is easier for the plant to absorb phosphorus.
If you want to change the color of Summer Crush you must first determine the soil pH. This is very easy to do with the soil pH test kits available at garden supply stores.
If the soil pH is below 6.0, the color of this hydrangea will be purple. To change the color to pink or red you will need to add garden lime. This product can also be purchased at a garden center.
In neutral soil (pH 6.0-6.5) Summer Crush will be pink or pinkish-red. If the pH is changed to 7.0, this hydrangea will turn pure red.
If you have neutral or alkaline soil but want purple hydrangeas, you have to make the soil acidic. To do this, apply aluminum sulfate to the soil around the shrub. Many quality products on the market can do this job well.
But remember that aluminum sulfate does not always work. If there is a lot of phosphorus in the soil, it will block access to aluminum even if the soil is acidic.
How long does it take for Summer Crush to change color?
It will take some time for the color to change. If you used aluminum sulfate, the fastest time is 60 days. Then you need to keep applying sulfate at that interval.
You can also use compost to acidify the soil to get the purple color. In this case, you have to wait at least 1 year. After mulching the hydrangea in the spring, wait until fall and add more fresh compost.
The following spring you can get your desired result. But it may take another year for the compost to work.
If you have changed the soil from acidic to alkaline to get pink or red, it can take a long time. You have to be patient and wait a year or two, adding lime from time to time. This is since the lime does not work immediately.
Do Summer Crush Hydrangeas stay pink?
Depending on your soil type, you’ll need to act in different ways to keep your Summer Crush hydrangea pink.
Let’s say you have acidic soil, in which case it will be purple. You have to make the soil neutral to get the pink color. As I said before, you have to use garden lime to neutralize acidic soil.
So you can add lime from time to time to the soil around the hydrangea until you see it turn pink. Then stop applying lime regularly and only use it when the flowers are purple again.
If you have alkaline soil, Summer Crush is more likely to turn red. You need to acidify the soil to get the pink color. Apply some sulfate first and then mulch the bush with compost.
After a while, you will see the flowers turn pink. But don’t overdo it, because if the soil gets too acidic the flowers will turn purple. All you have to do to keep Summer Crush pink is to change the mulch once a year.
Will Summer Crush Hydrangeas turn blue?
Turning Summer Crush blue is very difficult. The soil must be very acidic, with a pH of 5.5 or even less, to make it happen.
You can achieve this acidity by mixing the soil halfway with compost. Then regularly apply aluminum sulfate and mulch the hydrangea with compost. But you have no guarantee that the blue color will appear, one thing you can expect for sure is that Summer Crush will turn purple.
Also, if the soil is very acidic, Hydrangea loses its ability to absorb phosphorus. If phosphorus is deficient, the leaves will turn black or brown-black. In general, such a situation will be negative for the plant.
In light of the above, it is easier to buy a blue Hydrangea than to force Summer Crush to turn blue. There are many blue varieties available now that do not lose their color even if the soil is not very acidic.
In some cases, Summer Crush may lose its vibrant red color. The first time this can happen is when the hydrangea is planted in full sun. In addition to leaf burns, Summer Crush can have pale flower heads.
Direct sun all day will destroy the red pigment and the flowers will be pinkish white. To avoid this, plant it in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade.
The second case is when Summer Crush grows in the south. In zones 8 and 9, many gardeners cannot get a rich red color. This is where more intense sun, heat, and some other factors come into play.
In southern states, this hydrangea needs much more shade than in northern states. In addition, a little coolness will also be an advantage.