While an art critic would argue that these are not truly red flowers, this deep pink is the closest thing we have to a red hydrangea flower currently on the market. There are two new cultivars in the mix trying to maximize a hydrangea’s red potential. Cherry Explosion was released in 2017 by Star Roses & Plants. Summer Crush™ will be available in garden centers in 2019 as part of Bailey Nurseries’ Endless Summer® collection. With multiple recent releases, red hydrangeas will be a trending topic for consumers in the next few years.
Summer Crush™ and Cherry Explosion are considered hardier bigleaf hydrangeas since they can survive in zones 4 to 9. They perform best in full sun to part shade. Both cultivars have a very compact habit, giving the plant a neat and tidy appearance with minimal flopping. Because of this, both hydrangeas can be shown off in a decorative container. Their summer long display of blooms creates an eye-catching presentation in a planting bed or in a container.
While Summer Crush™ and Cherry Explosion are similar plants, there are a few exceptions. Summer Crush™ is the smaller of the two only getting about 1.5-3’ tall and wide, while Cherry Explosion can get up to 3-4’ tall and wide. Summer Crush™ may be the smaller plant, but it has larger mophead blooms, while Cherry Explosion has the subtler lacecap blooms. I can’t say for sure since Cherry Explosion is still so new, but from what I have seen Cherry Explosion seems to have a brighter red color described as a cherry red. Summer Crush™ has more of a purple-toned raspberry color. It is highly ambiguous since color can be perceived differently by different people, but I think that Cherry Explosion has a truer red color.
What it comes down to when comparing these hydrangeas retail value is bloom type, size, and brand recognition. While I prefer lacecap blooms, most consumers prefer the larger showier mophead blooms. Consumers also prefer smaller plants since they take up less space in their yards. Similarly, consumers are very loyal to Bailey’s Endless Summer® collection and their previous installments of the series have done very well. I think given the choice, consumers will prefer Summer Crush™ over Cherry Explosion. This coming summer, when Summer Crush™ is available in garden centers, we will see if my prediction is correct. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!