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Summer Crush Hydrangea Care

Summer Crush Hydrangea is one of those varieties destined to be popular for many years because it has many advantages. It is a hybrid between two varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla. It is one of several varieties in the Endless Summer Hydrangeas range.

Summer Crush is a perennial with big red flowers. They are fairly easy to care for, all they need is sun and water to grow well. But of course, there’s much more you can do to make them look great, and that’s what we’ll talk about in this article.

Plant profile:

Care/requirements Summer Crush Hydrangea
Hardiness: USDA zone 4a-9b
Size: Height 18-36” and width 17-36”
Shape: Rounded with upright stems.
Type: Perennial, deciduous, shrub.
Light requirements: 2-6 hours of direct sun per day.
Soil: Loam or amended soil.
Soil pH: 5.5-7.5 Grow best in slightly acidic to little alkaline soil.
Watering: 1-2 times per week in drought. Don’t water in the winter.
Growth rate: Fast
Blooming: Late spring and early fall. On old and new wood.
Flowers color: Red, pink, blue.
Leaves color: Bright green.
Fragrance: Low scent.
Pots: Needs a large pot and frequent watering.
Best time for planting: Early spring and early fall.
Pruning: Deadheading after flowering and removing deadwood.
Reblooming: In early fall.
Space: 4 feet apart (center to center).
Transplanting: Early fall or early spring.
Winter care: In 4-5 zones you need to cover hydrangeas.
Spring care: Uncover hydrangeas when there is no risk of late frosts. Remove all plant debris.
Fall care: Keep the soil around it slightly moist. Avoid the use of fertilizer. Remove all deadwood and fallen leaves.
Fertilizer: Balanced NPK formula, once per year.
Propagation: By cuttings in early spring.
Deer resistant: No
Problems: Pests, diseases.
Summer Crush Hydrangea

Summer Crush Hydrangea

Caring and planting for Summer Crush Hydrangea

Once you have the hydrangea, you need to plant it properly. Dig a planting hole twice as wide and twice as deep as the root ball of the hydrangea from the pot. If your soil is too heavy be sure to improve it, we will talk more about this later in this article.

Place the hydrangea in the planting hole so that the surface of your garden and the surface of the potted plant match. In other words, you do not want to cover the place where the stems emerge from the roots with earth.

Tamp down the soil slightly around the roots and water with a little water. When the water is gone, fill in more soil if necessary. Next, we will talk about other planting instructions that are also very important for successful hydrangea growing.

When to plant

The best time to plant Summer Crush hydrangea is spring and fall. In spring it is better to plant it before the leaves and flowers appear so that it will be easier for the plant to take root. In the fall, you need to plant the hydrangea so it has time to take root before the first frost. Hence, the best time in autumn is September.

Where to plant

The best place to plant Summer Crush Hydrangea is in the semi-shade. It is best if this variety gets a few hours of direct sun in the morning and the rest of the time it remains in the shade. We will discuss the light requirements in more detail below.

You can plant Summer Crush next to the house because it is not a big plant and it won’t damage the foundation. It is also well suited for garden beds or as a companion to other plants.

How far apart to plant Summer Crush Hydrangea

You need to plant Summer Crush hydrangea 4 feet apart. This is the distance from the center of one hydrangea to the center of the other hydrangea. This is because the distance between the plants should be equal to the width of an adult Summer Crush Hydrangea plus one additional foot so that the plants do not touch each other and there is good air circulation.

If you want to create a hedge of Summer Crush Hydrangeas, you will need to plant them three feet apart. That way, the hydrangeas will close up quickly and create a seamless hedge with large red flowers.

Sun or shade

Summer Crush Hydrangea needs different amounts of sunlight in different parts of the United States. So in the north, it can handle a lot of light, 6-8 hours of direct sun in the morning is best.

In the south (8-9 zones), that variety needs more shade than in the north. In such a climate, Summer Crush should get no more than 2-4 hours of the morning sun, the rest of the time it needs diffused sun or light shade.

Can Summer Crush Hydrangea take full sun?

Summer Crush Hydrangea is one of the ones that tolerate full sun best among mophead hydrangeas. In zones 4-5 it can grow in a location where it will receive 8. But it will need extra watering to thrive if briefly, the soil around it should always remain slightly moist.

South of zone 5 more than 6 hours of direct sunlight will be too much for it. As a result, Summer Crush leaves can get scorched at the edges or droop. In this case, even extra watering will not solve the problem.

Can Summer Crush Hydrangea take full shade?

Unfortunately, Summer Crush Hydrangea cannot grow in full shade. If you plant it in the total shade it will remain alive for some time, but the prolonged lack of light will lead to a lack of blooming. Next, the crown of the hydrangea will become loose and it will most likely die as a result.

Soil

Summer Crush can grow in a variety of soil types and this is its strength. But if you have too heavy soil in your yard, such as clay soil, you need to improve it to avoid stagnant water and ease the development of hydrangea roots.

To improve the quality of the soil, you need to add a few buckets of good quality compost to the planting hole and mix it with the native soil. The compost should be free of pests and diseases. Self-made compost or store-bought compost will do equally well.

This will make the soil looser and lighter. Sandy soil can also be improved in the same way, because adding compost to sandy soil will make it more water-holding, which is critical for hydrangeas.

Summer Crush Hydrangea soil pH

Summer Crush Hydrangea can grow in both acidic and alkaline soils. It will turn blue in acidic soils and pink in alkaline soils. In pH 6.0-7.0, Summer Crush will be red. What to do to change the color of this hydrangea I wrote above.

Watering

In short, you should water Summer Crush Hydrangea when the soil around them dries out more than half an inch. Just check with your finger to see how dry the ground is, and if necessary, water the hydrangea with enough water.

Watering is especially important in the first year after planting since a newly planted hydrangea can die from lack of moisture. While already rooted hydrangeas with insufficient water may not bloom or get small burns on the leaves, but there will be no more serious consequences.

How often and how much to water?

In more detail, Summer Crush Hydrangea should be watered once or twice a week on average when it is not raining. When there is even a little rain, you don’t need to water. In too much heat, the surface of the ground can dry out within a day. In this case, you need to water once for 2-3 days.

In the case of newly planted hydrangeas, the watering frequency should be higher. In a drought, you may even need to water every day. If it does not rain, but if it is not too hot, you should water once every 3 to 4 days. This watering schedule should be maintained for at least 1 year until the Summer Crush takes root.

As for the amount of water, 1-2 gallons is enough for one bush. A fully mature Summer Crush Hydrangea requires no more than 3 gallons of water per watering.

Overwatering and underwatering

You should avoid watering Summer Crush too often, as this can lead to root rot. If this happens, there is no way to save the plant. You do not want to exceed the amount of water I recommended above because too much water will make the soil soaking wet and the roots of the plant may rot.

If you don’t give Summer Crush water in time, the leaves may droop or get burned. In most cases, the plant will recover after a short time. All you need to do is keep a regular watering schedule.

Blooming

Not only Summer Crush but all hydrangeas in general, are valued for their flowering. The size of the flowers in this variety, as in most hydrangeas, is small (up to 1 inch across), but the flower clusters are quite large and can be up to 5 inches across. The shape of the flower heads is rounded, which is a distinctive feature of the variety from, for example, panicle hydrangeas.

When does Summer Crush Hydrangea bloom?

Summer Crush blooms twice a season. The first bloom is in late spring, usually in mid to late May. In different climates, Summer Crush may bloom a little earlier or a little later than that. The duration of flowering can last most of the summer.

The second time Summer Crush blooms is in early fall. The duration of the second bloom is usually a little shorter than the first. Also, the second time the flower heads are not as large and maybe 3.5-4 inches across. Also, their number maybe a little less than in spring.

Does Summer Crush Hydrangea Bloom on old or new wood?

Summer Crush Hydrangea blooms on both old and new wood. It is one of the first Bigleaf Hydrangeas to bloom on both types of wood. Because of this, you can cut it at almost any time of the year, more on that later in the article.

Also, if frost damage does occur, you will still get a summer bloom on new wood. It usually has more flower clusters than most other Bigleaf Hydrangeas because the flower buds can be found on both wood types.

Color

In most cases, Summer Crush will have red flowers. This is because it has its standard red color in neutral soil. But if the soil is acidic it will change to blue and in alkaline soil to pink. It follows that by some actions you can change the color of this hydrangea.

To do this you first need to know the pH of your soil. This can easily be done with the tests that are available on the market. For example, if your soil is neutral and you want blue flowers, then add aluminum sulfate to the soil near the roots. If you want pink flowers then you need to add garden lime.

Summer Crush Hydrangea not blooming

There are several reasons why Summer Crush Hydrangeas do not bloom. First of all, it can happen through an excess of sunlight. In this case, you need to plant the hydrangea in a place where it will not get more than 4 hours of direct sun.

The second reason is overwatering. I have written about this above, but in short, water the hydrangea only when the surface is dry. After watering, the soil should be moist but not wet.

The third reason for the lack of flowering is too much fertilizer. As a result, Hydrangea plants grow vigorously but do not bloom.

Summer Crush Hydrangea flowers turning brown

The reason why Summer Crush Hydrangea flowers turn brown is that there is too much sunlight. This is especially true in the afternoon sun, as it is very harsh at this time of day.

To avoid this situation, you need to plant the hydrangea in a place with full shade in the afternoon.

Pruning

As for how to prune Summer Crush Hydrangea, it’s easy. This variety needs two types of pruning. The first is deadheading and the second is the removal of deadwood.

The best time to prune Summer Crush Hydrangea is immediately after flowering. This is when you remove the flowers that have bloomed, which is called deadheading. You don’t have to do deadheading, but if you do it, Summer Crush will have more vigor for a lush bloom next year.

Deadheading should be done carefully so as not to damage the stems. You have to cut off the flower heads where they connect to the stem. Once cut, the hydrangea will produce new buds for next year’s blooms.

Deadwood can be removed at any time of year. If for some reason you need to prune Summer Crush at a different time, you can do it almost any time since this hydrangea blooms on old and new wood. If you cut some of the stems off, Summer Crush will still bloom on the new wood. The only thing to avoid is removing this year’s branches in the spring and not trimming Summer Crush just before it blooms.

Transplanting

The best time to transplant Summer Crush Hydrangea is early spring or early fall. This is when conditions are most suitable for it. It is best to start transplanting either in the morning or evening.

Carefully dig the hydrangea out of the ground, being careful not to damage the roots. Ideally, the root ball should remain intact. In this case, transplant shock will be minimal.

Move the hydrangea to a new location and plant it there. How to choose a place for hydrangea and how to plant it correctly can be read above.

After transplanting, shade the Summer Crush Hydrangea for a few weeks. This means that during this time it should not get direct sun. Also, water regularly as I recommend above for new hydrangeas.

Hardiness

Summer Crush Hydrangea is a very hardy plant. It can tolerate zone 4 and 5 frosts, but it will need a more sheltered location from frosty winds there. I will tell you more about overwintering this hydrangea next.

In the south, it can be planted in zone 9. In this climate, it will need a minimum amount of direct sunlight (no more than 2 hours). Most of the time it prefers to remain in the semi-shade. In general, it is a hardy plant that can grow in zones 4 to 9.

Growth habit

Summer Crush Hydrangea can grow up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It is a dwarf hydrangea that will be compact in size even at maturity.

Its stems are upright, but the rhizome is wide enough to allow many stems to grow from it. The result is a rounded bush shape. Summer Crush is also very dense due to its short internodes.

The growth rate is fast, its stems grow to the highest possible height (3 feet) in a year. After a few years, the old branches die off and new ones take their place.

Growing in pots

To successfully grow Summer Crush Hydrangea in pots, you need to choose the right container. Firstly it should be at least 2 feet across and the same depth, but ideally a much larger container. Secondly, there should be at least 3 or 4 drainage holes in the pot.

For potting, a mixture of compost and ordinary garden soil in the proportion of 50% to 50% is suitable. The next important point is watering, you will have to water the potted hydrangea much more often. In heat and drought, you need to water every day.

You also need to feed your potted hydrangea twice a season. The amount of sun and other requirements are similar to growing hydrangeas in the garden. You can find these instructions above in this article.

Winter care

If your garden is in zones 4 or 5, then you need to cover Summer Crush Hydrangea for the winter to avoid frostbite. The best time is late fall. There are lots of good covering materials on the market that you can use.

You should uncover hydrangeas in spring when there is no risk of a late frost. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and act accordingly. If you do not cover your hydrangeas or remove the cover too early, the hydrangea can get frostbite, but it will stay alive and recover after a while.

Hydrangeas do not need to be covered for zones 6-9. All you need to do is water the plants in the fall so they store enough moisture for the winter. You also need to remove dead branches and fallen leaves. In addition, you should not use fertilizer in the fall.

Fertilizer

For Summer Crush Hydrangea to thrive, the best solution is to use a slow-release fertilizer with a balanced NPK formula. Apply the fertilizer in early spring once a year and the plant will get everything it needs throughout the season.

Fertilizers with slightly more phosphorus than other elements can also be used. In this case, you will get more lush blooms.

You should not over-fertilize, as this can lead to a lack of blooms and your hydrangea falling apart.

Problems

Like all Summer Crush plants, Hydrangea can get sick and has several pests that you have to deal with. As for diseases, the first thing to note here is brown spots on the leaves, these are fungal diseases that can be treated by spraying fungicides on the leaves.

Pests can also damage this hydrangea. The most common ones are insects or spider mites. In most cases, 1-2 sprays of horticultural oil are enough to get rid of them. For more serious cases, pesticides or acaricides should be used.

Is summer crush hydrangea deer resistant?

Summer Crush Hydrangea is not deer resistant. These animals can easily damage your hydrangea as well as some other creatures, such as rabbits. So if deer show up near your yard, you should consider protecting your hydrangeas. Fences and repellents work well against these pests, and dogs are also good at handling them.

Leaves turning brown or yellow

Summer Crush Hydrangea leaves because the plant gets too much sun and not enough water. The first thing you need to do is to water the hydrangea more often and with more water, but not overwater it. If the leaves turn further brown, you should move the hydrangea to a place where it gets less direct sun (up to 2-4 hours per day).

The reason why Summer Crush Hydrangea leaves turn yellow is due to a lack of iron, this is called chlorosis. This situation usually occurs if the soil is too alkaline. So you need to add compost or other soil acidifiers which are commercially available.

Summer Crush Hydrangea wilting

Summer Crush Hydrangea wilts because it doesn’t get enough water. The sun stimulates the hydrangea to evaporate more moisture, but it is not able to absorb moisture at the desired rate and get it to the leaves. In this case, you will need to transplant Summer Crush to a location with less direct sun and increase the watering frequency slightly.

Propagation

The only effective way to propagate Summer Crush Hydrangea is by cuttings. In early spring you need to cut cuttings from the top of the plant. They should have at least 3-4 internodes and be at least 4 inches long.

Insert each cutting into a separate pot one-third of its length. The soil in the pots must be sterile. It is best to use a seed potting mix. Next, water the cuttings to keep the soil moist and then place the pots in the greenhouse.

The humidity in the greenhouse should be high. Also, water the cuttings from time to time so that the soil does not dry out. If everything is done correctly, the leaves will show after a while and by the end of the year, the cuttings will have roots of their own.