If you are looking for a real showstopper to add to your garden, a limelight hydrangea tree is a way to go. While most hydrangeas are blue or purple, this variety has a pale green color, which is how it gets its name. Read on for more information about when to plant your limelight hydrangea and how to ensure you have gorgeous blooms each year.
When to plant limelight hydrangeas: Limelight hydrangeas are a variety of shrubs and are a part of the panicle hydrangea group. They are a hardy variety and will grow up to eight feet in both height and width. Plant your young limelight hydrangea in your garden after the last spring frost. The blooms will start out as a lime green color but will change from a pale white to a pink or red color as the summer progresses. You can leave the blooms on the shrub, cut them for flower arrangements, and even dry them for future use. Prune your limelight hydrangeas in late winter or early spring so that you don’t interfere with the new spring growth.
Planting Limelight Hydrangea in Different Climates
Limelight hydrangeas can grow in a tropical climate. This is an adaptable plant and will be fine as long as the area is more on the cool side of temperatures.
You can grow a limelight hydrangea in a dry climate. While you will need to add extra water, this plant doesn’t like soggy water and prefers its soil to dry out in between watering.
A temperate climate is great for growing limelight hydrangeas. You will want to plant it in full sun as the summers won’t be as hot.
Growing limelight hydrangeas in a continental climate is possible. It is best to plant your shrub in an area that is shaded in the afternoon sun, as it can be too hot for the blooms. Furthermore, you may need to wrap your limelight hydrangea in the winter if the temperature is too cold.
It can be quite difficult to grow a limelight hydrangea in a polar climate. The shrub needs warmth and sunlight to thrive.
Alternatives to Limelight Hydrangeas
Limelight hydrangeas belong to a category of shrubs known as panicle hydrangeas. These are all hardy, versatile, and adaptable varieties of hydrangeas. If you like the idea of limelight hydrangeas but want more options, the following are also panicle hydrangeas.
Little Quick Fire – This variety grows to about three feet in size. The flowers are a red-pink color.
Little Lime – This variety is also smaller and will grow to be about three feet tall. The flowers have a lime green color to them.
Zinfin Doll – Medium-size, this variety will grow to be about six feet tall. The flowers are a pinky white color.
Fire Light – With a height between five and six feet, this is a gorgeous variety. It has flowers that are deep red in color.
QuickFire – This is a bushy variety that grows to be about six to eight feet tall. The flowers are an orangey-red color.
PinkyWinky – Another tall option, this variety will grow to be about eight feet tall. The colors are a pink-white shade.
How to Plant Limelight Hydrangeas
Most gardeners will start with small shrubs when planting their limelight hydrangeas. This is much easier than trying to start from seed and they are more readily available, both at local gardening centers and online.
Plant your limelight hydrangea in the spring, right after the last frost date. The soil should be warm enough to work.
Where you live will determine where you plant your limelight hydrangea. While this plant does need sun, too much and it can start to wilt.
Those living in northern climates can plant limelight hydrangeas in full sun. Try to aim for eight hours of sunlight every day.
However, if you live in warmer, southern areas, it is better to plant your limelight hydrangea in an area that gets full morning sun but afternoon shade.
Ensure you plant your limelight hydrangea in an area that is well-draining. If there is too much pooling water, the plant can quickly develop root rot.
Start by digging up the area you want to plant in. Add plenty of organic matter such as compost and break apart any compacted dirt.
Once you purchase your limelight hydrangea, it’s time to get digging. Start by digging a hole that is just larger than the container your plant is in.
These shrubs can grow quite large, so when planting, be sure to space them appropriately. Both the height and width can be up to eight feet tall, so you don’t want to plant anything closer than this.
While it might seem like you have a lot of space between the plant in the first few years, you will be thankful for your foresight later on.
How to Water Limelight Hydrangea
Limelight hydrangeas are a better alternative to traditional hydrangeas because they are more drought-tolerant. However, newly planted hydrangeas still need plenty of care.
After planting, ensure you water your hydrangea at least once a week. Add more watering as the summer becomes hotter.
Then, after at least a year of growth, your limelight hydrangea will be established and its root structure will be spread out enough that you don’t have to water as frequently.
When you do water your limelight hydrangea, it is better to water for a long time but infrequently between water sessions. This will force the plant’s roots to dig deeper in search of water, thus strengthening the whole plant.
Between watering, you want the soil to dry out. If the water around your limelight hydrangea is always soggy, then the plant won’t survive.
Finally, if you are worried you aren’t watering enough, pay attention to the blooms and leaves. Limelight hydrangeas will wilt in hot temperatures and if they don’t bounce back after the afternoon sun, it means the plant doesn’t have enough water stored in it.
How to Grow Limelight Hydrangea
Start your limelight hydrangea off right by adding plenty of compost to the soil. Then, be sure to add fertilizer to help it grow.
Apply a standard 10-10-10 fertilizer to the soil around your limelight hydrangea every spring. Water plenty so that the fertilizer can soak into the ground.
Limelight hydrangeas will bloom in early summer and continue to hold their flowers through late summer and early fall. Adding fertilizer before this happens will encourage larger blooms.
When you prune your hydrangea will depend on the variety you have. In the case of limelight hydrangeas, this should be done in late winter to early spring.
Limelight hydrangeas bloom on new stems. They grow back every year so if you are worried about old stems that are killed during a cold winter, this won’t affect new growth.
In early spring, prune your limelight hydrangea back by about one-third. This will keep a steady framework for the plant but will also encourage plenty of new growth.
One of the benefits of limelight hydrangeas is that they make for a lovely bouquet. The blooms can be up to 10 inches wide.
Limelight hydrangeas will turn different colors as the season progresses. They begin with a light lime green color in early summer and this will then transform into either white, pink, or burgundy as the summer ends.
You can leave the blooms alone and they will actually stay visible through early fall. If you want to cut them for a flower arrangement you can, and you can also dry your limelight hydrangeas as a decorative accent.
Can you grow limelight hydrangeas in a container?
You might not think it from their towering size and ample width, but limelight hydrangeas actually do quite well when grown in a container. Start them off when you first bring them home in a good-size container but also be prepared to transplant them as they continue to grow.
Container growing can stunt the size of your limelight hydrangea, but that is also a benefit to the process. You can keep the shrub smaller and make it more of an accent for a balcony or front walkway.
How long do limelight hydrangeas take to grow?
Although it is technically possible to grow limelight hydrangeas from seed, it is very hard to do so. The most common method of growing is to purchase cuttings from your garden center.
These small shrubs will already be a few years old and you can then place them directly in your garden. They will bloom in early summer.
It takes about five years for a limelight hydrangea to mature. During this time, it will grow to be six to eight feet tall.
Limelight hydrangeas make for an amazing spectacle in your garden. The shrub can grow up to eight feet wide and eight feet tall and the booms are usually over nine inches in length. Start with new shrubs and plant them in the spring. Then, you will have gorgeous blooms throughout the summer.