Red Sensation is a powerhouse in a very petite package. Well-branched and bushy, it sets masses of flowers, but you'd never know it from the slender, rounded silhouette it presents! Large, toothy bright green leaves bank the blooms in fresh color from spring through frost, then drop for winter. It never needs trimming or pruning to keep its neat little shape!
The blooms are quite large, packed with florets, and very long-lasting. Expect the first wave in midsummer, long after the final frost (so you don't lose the buds to freak cold spells!), and very abundant. They begin green, then swell and turn red. Cut them at any stage for fresh or dried arrangements indoors; Hydrangea's petals turn papery and may fade a bit, but hold onto the stem and are great for everlastings!
After the first wave of blooms passes, cut or deadhead the remaining flowering stems and let the shrub rest for several weeks. Then, as summer turns to fall, you will notice a second flowering beginning. Just in time for tailgating and back-to-school bouquets for teachers, you have another wave of brilliant red! And be sure to leave as many flowers on the shrub as you can, because they will mature to a rich plummy purple as the weather turns chillier!
Like all Hydrangeas, Red Sensation is a snap to grow. It does best in partial shade or dappled sun in all but the northernmost settings, and loves moist soil. While it thrives in the heat and humidity of southern summers, it is not a drought-tolerant plant; that "hydra" in its name means, "I love water!" If your soil tends to dry out, mulch this shrub in very well and put it on a regular watering schedule throughout the growth season to keep it blooming its best.
That said, few shrubs offer the carefree beauty of Hydrangea. It never needs pruning, and it resists almost all pests and diseases. The flowers remain for a long season (two long seasons in Red Sensation's case!), and the foliage is attractive as well. You can't go wrong with this mainstay of the border, foundation, and accent planting. And now Red Sensation brings its more compact habit to make the shrub available for container plantings, too!
Most Hydrangea blooms are pink or blue, depending upon soil pH, so the pure red of this variety is a rare treat. Enjoy the color changes, vibrant hues, and compact size of this delightful little shrub for decades to come in your shady garden! Zones 5-9.