This is a hot-colored lacecap - we are seeing it colored hot pink even in our pine bark-based growing medium (which tends toward acidic), but we imagined it would be correspondingly saturated purple or dark blue in acidic soils. The pink-purple flower picture from Mike Dirr confirms that purple will exhibit in neutral pH soils.
July 2018 we stalked Hydrangeas for 7 days on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and saw only this expression of hot cherry pink. Never once did we see blue. Other hydrangea stalkers confirmed that it strongly holds the pink coloration and nobody else has yet seen it blue.
The plant is definitely more compact that other macs in size, so it's good choice for smaller spaces. Yet, the lacecaps are hefty and robust - this is not a timid flowerer.
Our fifth flowerhead picture shows how the sterile florets flip over and age lighter pink after the center fertile flowers have been pollinated. Look closely and you can see all the ovaries swelling and fruit forming where there were once fertile flowers.
It's listed by the introducer, Star Roses and Plants, as hardy in zone 4, but we are very conservative with Hydrangea zone hardiness and successful blooming, so we're listing it as zone 6. We would love to hear from you if you're growing it in cold climates.
It's newish, can you tell we still have a lot to learn about it? But . . . after two summers of having a plant here in zone 8a, we know the name is apt and we love, love, love Cherry Explosion bigleaf hydrangea.
Cherry Explosion bigleaf hydrangea, bigleaf hydrangea, lacecap hydrangea, hydrangea
USDA Hardiness Zones
flowering shrub, deciduous
- Spring: medium green
- Summer: dark green
Fall Leaf Color Quality
Soil Moisture Requirements
moist-but-draining, no standing water
Soil pH Requirements
acid, neutral, alkaline
sun, part shade, shade
To Make It Thrive
Give Cherry Explosion rich soil plus consistent moisture in a soil that drains. It may require extra watering, but avoid standing water. Grow it in full shade or afternoon shade in the deep south (zones 8 and 9), not only for the foliage, but so the flowers don't get sun scald. Full sun is okay farther north. For flowering in cold climates, situate it in a warm sheltered location. During the ups and downs of spring temps here in Zone 8a - we cover to protect flower buds.