I Love The Enchantress Hydrangea

Dec 10, 2016 | Love This!

Imagine: You love flowers and the bigger and bolder they are, the happier they make you. Yet your outdoor living space is quite shady, so you need plants that will thrive in with only four hours of direct sun. Thankfully, you’ve discovered the Enchantress hydrangea. She caught your attention the moment you saw her fresh green leaves and the contrasting black stems, but you were fully snagged by the rich blue flowers that lasted all summer. Enchanting indeed.

 Name: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Monmar’ aka Enchantress® Hydrangea aka blue enchantress hydrangea

Type of Plant:  This is one of the new mophead hydrangeas on the block. It’s said to be hardy in Zone 5-9 but I suspect that the flowering is best in a warm zone 6 and above. It is one of the hydrangeas that blooms on both old and new growth.

Why I love this: On Cape Cod we had conditions last year that killed off most of the hydrangea buds that had formed on old stems. This meant that in May, when I went out to prune my hydrangeas, I was confronted with many bare, dead canes. Enchantress was no different and I thought, “Too bad, I won’t see any flowers on this plant this summer.” But I was delighted when, in late June, the plant began to produce many flowers on the new growth. This was contrary to many of my other shrubs that only make flowers on new canes late in the summer or even into the fall. I was also impressed by the strong, upright stems on this plant. I look forward to seeing how Enchantress does after a more mild winter!

A Word to the Wise: Expect this to grow up to 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide, so plan accordingly. Like most H. macrophylla the flowers on this plant last longest when they are protected from the mid-day sun.

Here is how Enchantress looked looked in mid-June. All of the old canes, which got killed in the winter, were cut to the ground in May. So I was truly surprised to see all these flowers beginning to open.

Here is how Enchantress looked looked in mid-June. All of the old canes, which got killed in the winter, were cut to the ground in May. So I was truly surprised to see all these flowers beginning to open. And notice the dark black stems which contrast attractively with the bright green leaves.

 

In July the blue flowers opened and graced this plant all summer long. There were two or three flowers that eventually opened on the new growth as well.

In July the blue flowers opened and graced this plant all summer long. There were two or three flowers that eventually opened on the new growth as well. This shrub was planted the fall before this photo was taken – so this is really a more-than-decent showing for a second-year plant after a hydrangea killing winter!

8 Comments

  1. Susan

    Any advice for how/when to prune the Enchantress to create stronger stems? Mine started off beautiful but eventually the flowers got too big for the stems and now they’re all on the ground. Hoping next season to grow some stronger stems.

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      Susan,
      Unfortunately we hydrangea lovers tend to want it all: we want bud hardiness, stem strength, the particular color we’re partial to, and total success every summer. Enchantress is a bit more bud hardy and has lovely black stems and a great blue flower. Is it the most stem-sturdy hydrangea on the market? No. But here’s how you can help: DO NOT PRUNE IT. Pruning Hydrangea macrophyllas just means fewer flowers and stimulates new stem growth, and new growth is weaker growth so more bendable stems. Also DO NOT FERTILIZE MUCH. People think that fertilizer might make a plant stronger but the opposite is true. Also, DO NOT GROW THESE CLOSE TO A LAWN THAT IS BEING FERTILIZED. Lawn fertilizer is high in nitrogen, which causes growth of weak stems on your hydrangeas. So for pruning, just remove any dead wood in late-May. Done. Once a year light feed with something like Holly-tone in April. Done. Keep the lawn fertilizer at least six feet away from your plants. Done.

      And btw, given that treatment my Enchantress never end up in the mud. Enjoy this wonderful shrub…it’s a good one.

      Reply
  2. River Lady

    Blue Enchantress may be pruned but the timing is what is important. A light pruning may be done to remove spent blossoms in early to late July but don’t prune into August as that is when the plant is setting it’s buds on it’s old wood for the new blooming season. In early spring, when you start to see activity along the stem, but back to the first set of small growth buds on the stem. Those are the buds that were set in the previous August. Best to wrap the plant with burlap or salt marsh hay for Zone 5. I’m in Zone 6 and I wrap as well. This protects the buds that will bloom in June on the old wood. Happy gardening.

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      River Lady
      In my experience wrapping does nothing to protect these plants. If it works for you, great. But wrapping assumes that you’re holding in heat and since these plants don’t generate heat that’s a false assumption. In Zone 5 these will never bloom, wrapped or not. Sorry, but it’s just too cold.

      Reply
  3. Maine Gardener

    I live in zone 5 in Maine and mine bloom every year, however, I suspect I may prune too high based on comments by River Lady, so may not as many blooms as possible.

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      This type of hydrangea is best when the only pruning is the removal of deadwood.

      Reply
  4. Central NH

    I live in zone 5a / 5b and found this page because I wanted to know if cutting the very large, heavy flowers on my Blue Echantress is recommended. We planted it last year and it looked dead this spring and I was worried that it wouldn’t live but it’s thriving! So happy!

    Reply

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