Hydrangea Design in Ombré


I live in Toronto and have a semi shady backyard. On my honeymoon I visited Christchurch Botanical Garden and saw the most beautiful ombré hydrangea display. I want to recreate it using varieties that are available locally. Friends have suggested Bloomstruck and Endless Summer varieties. These varieties don’t create that deep red! What are your thoughts and how can I ensure the best blooms?

  1. Hello and thank you for contacting us with your question about hydrangeas.

What a beautiful photo! Red hydrangeas are certainly very spectacular and I understand why you would like to recreate the lovely display you saw in Christchurch.

The varieties that were suggested to you are good choices but, as you mentioned, may not offer the deep red that you are looking for. Several red varieties are now offered locally. It is also important to take into account the fact that your garden is semi-shaded when making your choices. Also, the soil should be neutral or alkaline (pH 6.5 or higher). Dolomitic lime can be added to raise the pH.

Here are some possibilities:

City Line Paris (Hydrangea macrophyllia ‘Paris Rapa’)

If you are looking for a compact, fuchsia-red flower, this variety would be a good choice. It is recommended for mass plantings and in shrub borders. It offers long-lasting ball-shaped fuchsia blooms from early summer to early fall. The blooms change to green as they age. It can grow to about 3 feet. This hydrangea does well in full sun to partial shade. Hardiness zone 5a

Hydrangea macrophyllia ‘Masja’

This variety is low-growing with deep red flowers. It prefers partial shade. It has large red flowerheads, up to 6 inches across. The flowers are hot pink or rose-red depending on the soil pH. The blooms keep their colour all summer before turning a metallic colour in the fall. It grows 2-3 feet tall and should be pruned after flowering. Hardiness zone 6

Hydrangea macrophyllia ‘Magical Ruby Tuesday’.

This new variety of hydrangea has very deep red blooms with gemstone-like colour. The blooms are round and long-flowering with wonderful red shades. It prefers partial sun with afternoon shade. Hardiness zone 5

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Quick Fire”

Quick Fire starts blooming one month earlier than any of the other hardy hydrangeas. It has a loose and airy flower shape. The blossoms begin as white then turn to pink and eventually deepen to a cherry red. This variety is one the largest hydrangeas and can mature to 6-8 feet high. Zone 3

I hope these varieties help you recreate your hydrangea display!