Often, less is more. Take this landscape design composed of climbing roses, hydrangeas, and lilies surrounding a bluestone terrace. This small, suburban garden feels both expansive and intimate. Japanese forest grass softens the edge of the terrace and adds just enough of a modern look to make the garden’s owners, urban transplants, happy. “My husband and I were looking for an outdoor space that had a secret-garden feeling,” says homeowner Anne Lillis-Ruth. “We’ve had fun adding furniture, antique planters, and a stone fountain to [landscape designer] Robert Welsch’s beautiful landscape. The white and green plantings provide the perfect backdrop to my collection of colorful table linens, glassware, and china. We love our garden!” Dean Fisher loved it, too. “The setting is so lovely and relaxed. It evokes the south of France, with its intimate scale and the integration of house and patio through the use of the vines and other plantings.”
Limelight hydrangea Golden Japanese forest grass - horia_turcu
Limelight hydrangea trees are a stunning variety, with an enormous display of inch, pale green blossoms each summer that transition to soft white, cream, and pink through fall. These cold-hardy, drought-tolerant hydrangeas are exceptionally low-maintenance and yield gorgeous blossoms perfect for cutting and drying.
Whether you are looking for a striking specimen plant, a lively hedge, or a container piece for your patio, limelight hydrangeas are your answer.
Limelight Hydrangea Trees at a Glance
- Flowers transition from pastel green to cream, white, or pink
- Enormous inch blooms
- Bloom from summer through fall
- Great for long-lasting cut flowers
Limelight hydrangea trees grow in a rounded shape with deep, dark green foliage. In summer, their inch, pale green flowers bloom from new wood growth. These enormous blooms change color throughout the season, shifting to creams, whites, and even pinks through fall before the leaves drop in winter.
|Appearance||Rounded shape with dark green leaves and pale green, inch blooms in summer that turn to cream, white, or pink through fall. Loses leaves in winter|
|Type of tree||Deciduous|
|Sunlight requirements||Full sun to partial shade|
|Soil composition||Highly adaptable, prefers neutral to acidic and requires well-draining soil|
USDA Hardiness Zones indicate the regions where plants can grow based on minimum winter temperatures. Limelight hydrangea trees grow in Zones , which covers a very large swath of the country. They tolerate both hot summers and cold winters, including frost.
The ideal times to plant Limelight hydrangea trees are early spring or fall. We recommend taking these steps when planting:
- Choose a sheltered planting site that receives full sun in cool climates or partial sun in warm climates.
- Start by digging a hole twice the width of your Limelight hydrangea root ball and roughly the same depth of the root ball. Your plant should be just slightly higher than the surrounding soil.
- Backfill the hole with soil halfway and pour water into the hole until it rises to the top. After it fully drains away, finish filling in the rest of the soil. If you do not have well-draining soil, you’ll want to plant your Limelight hydrangea tree in a inch mound to make sure it doesn’t get soggy roots.
- To create a privacy hedge, plant your Limelight hydrangea trees feet apart, center to center.
Limelight hydrangea trees can grow in a wide variety of soils and are drought-tolerant after they’ve been established, making them low-maintenance and almost hassle-free.
Sun and shade
The sunlight requirements for Limelight hydrangea trees depend on the zones they are grown in. In warmer zones , they need partial shade—about four hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day. In cooler zones , they get the best bloom growth from being in full sun, or at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight per day.
Limelight hydrangea trees can adapt to a wide variety of soils but prefer a neutral to acidic pH. Whatever the soil type, it must be well-draining. These trees do not like wet feet. Unlike some other varieties, the soil pH does not affect the color of the blooms.
Protect your Limelight hydrangea’s roots from winter chill in cold climates by applying a inch layer of mulch.
To maintain evenly moist soil, water every week to 10 days. Do not overwater—only give your Limelight hydrangea water when the top two inches of soil are dry. You can test this by inserting your index finger into the surrounding soil to check for moisture.
Feed your Limelight hydrangea tree every spring before new growth with a slow-release, balanced fertilizer designed for woody plants with an NPK value of
You should prune your Limelight hydrangea tree every year, either in late winter or in early spring before new growth starts to emerge. Each year, prune your Limelight hydrangea back by ⅓ of its overall height to encourage new growth. Keep in mind that Limelight hydrangeas bloom only on new wood, so you don’t want to accidentally cut off any flower buds.
If you notice any dead, damaged, or diseased branches, trim them throughout the year.
Frequently Asked Questions
How tall do they grow?
Limelight hydrangea trees grow to be feet tall.
Do they need full sun?
In Zones , Limelight hydrangea trees grow the best blooms when planted in sites with full sun.
Do their flowers change color?
Yes. In fall, blooms may be pink, white, or cream.
Can they grow in a container?
Limelight hydrangea trees do well as container plants.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at [email protected].
'Limelight' Hydrangea Planting and Growing Tips
Bask in the late-summer limelight with these gorgeous blooms.
Image courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden
Let the light shine with these sumptuous, enduring limelight hydrangeas.
As the dog days of August set in and most flowering plants peter out from their long summer performance, one shrub takes center stage with a commanding presence: ‘Limelight’ hydrangea.
'Limelight' is a paniculata, or panicle type, hydrangea—Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’—that’s prized for a variety of reasons. First, it blooms later than most hydrangeas, beginning in midsummer. Second, its large panicle-shaped flower heads that grow 6 to 12 inches long hold upright on the shrub instead of drooping with weight. Finally—and most important—'Limelight'’s blooms offer a unique creamy-chartreuse color that remains bright and fresh all the way into autumn, when the color changes to a deep pink. Its foliage also yields good fall color.
This showstopper of a shrub is deciduous, growing up to 8 feet tall and as wide. It’s hardy to zone 3, drought tolerant, and prefers part sun to sun and good loamy soil. Soil pH does not affect its bloom color. Yet, it’s also the most adaptable of all hydrangeas to different soil types.
Plant this hydrangea as a specimen or in groupings in perennial and shrub borders. 'Limelight' also makes a good choice for containers.
Unlike the mophead and lacecap hydrangeas that bloom on old wood from buds formed the previous year, paniculata hydrangeas bloom on new growth. For that reason, they should be pruned in late winter before new stems emerge in order to avoid cutting off the buds.
And an added bonus: 'Limelight' blooms make great cut flowers – both fresh and dried.
With all that going for it, what’s not to like about this late-summer star of the garden?
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Design garden limelight hydrangea
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