paniculata Limelight™ PP#12,874
This new Hydrangea is so amazing that it might as well be a whole new type of shrub! Not only is it much, MUCH cold-hardier than most -- happy all the way through zone 4 in the north! -- but its blooms open green and then progress through 4 different colors! And when the flowers finally stop arriving in fall, the foliage leaps into the limelight by turning bright red!
Limelight™ begins its show in early to midsummer, when plentiful flower clusters of rich chartreuse-to-lime arise all over the large shrub. As they mature, they first turn pure white, then darken to all shades of pink, finally settling on a rich rosy hue! Cut them at any point in the color show and they'll remain that shade, of course -- so you can get a 4-color bouquet from a single shrub, and a fully-blooming plant has every color present at once!
Now, the flowers arise in big, fluffy domes packed with little florets, and when I tell you that these domes reach 8 inches across, you're just going to have to take my word. The most remarkable thing to me is not the size of each cluster but the NUMBER of them -- they dot this shrub like dewdrops at dawn! And they keep arising for months -- well into fall in most climates. Now that's flower power and then some!
But autumn turns out to be a big show no matter what the blooms are doing, because with the first really cold weather, the big, deep green leaves burnish bright red! When you take into consideration the size of this shrub -- 6 to 8 feet high and wide -- you can imagine what an attention-getting spectacle this is in the lightly shaded to sunny garden! (At this rate, the Japanese Maples will have to hide their heads!) And the last blooms dry beautifully right on the plant, so you can enjoy the highly unusual sight of dusty rose flowers on a bright red-leafed shrub!
Now, Limelight is more than a pretty face. It's easy to grow, and once established is one of the best choices for xeriscapic (water-saving) gardens. It also puts up with heat, humidity, poor soil, and a bunch of other annoyances. Just give it plenty of water the first year or two to get it feeling at home in your garden, then leave it be. You'll be astonished at how carefree and lovely it remains, year after year!
Space these shrubs about 6 feet apart in sun to light shade. You are in for many years of unrivalled beauty from this exciting newcomer!
- Product Details
- Additional Images
- Customer Reviews
- Pruning Tips
- Color Adjustment
- How to Grow
- The Wayside Difference
- Heat Tolerant
|Hydrangeas can live for many years without ever needing to be pruned, but if your shrubs grow out of bounds or lose flowering vigor, then there are some essential pruning guidelines you must follow to ensure bountiful blooms the next year! |
Hydrangea macrophylla and H. quercifolia These generally bloom on old wood and require little pruning. Prune spent blooms immediately after flowering (midsummer), or remove only dead, damaged or unsightly wood.
|Hydrangea macrophylla (Bigleaf, Mophead, or Lacecap Hydrangeas) |
These Hydrangeas begin blooming in early to midsummer and can continue until summer's end, so they set their bloom buds during late summer or early fall. When pruning mopheads, you have two options, and will probably end up doing a combination of both:
|Exception: If you have a reblooming variety such as Penny Mac that flowers on new wood as well as old wood, you'll want to prune a little every year just to keep the new wood coming.|
|Hydrangea quercifolia (Oakleaf Hydrangea) |
You can get away without pruning Oakleaf Hydrageas at all, but if you want to keep them well-shaped, cut dead stems back at the base in late winter or early spring.
|Hydrangea arborescens and H. paniculata |
These shrubs bloom on new wood and actually produce larger blooms if cut back to the ground in late winter.
|Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea) |
This is one of the easiest Hydrangeas to prune. Because it blooms only on new wood, you can just cut it back to the ground in late winter, before any new buds appear. If you experience some flopping of flowering branches, then leave a framework of old growth to help support the branches by only cutting stems back to 2 feet from the ground.
|Hydrangea paniculata (Pee Gee or Panicle Hydrangeas) |
Prune this Hydrangea in late winter to keep the plants from becoming overgrown and encourage more new growth, more flower buds, and larger blooms. You can remove dead flowers, as soon as they become unattractive and clean up the overall shape of the plant.
|Hydrangea petiolaris (Climbing Hydrangea) |
Climbing Hydrangea requires little to no pruning, but if you need to trim it to keep it in bounds, you should prune it just after flowering. Cut back last year's flower shoots to 1 to 2 inches and pruning out shoots that fail to cling or have pulled away from their support.
|Remember, Hydrangeas are shade tolerant, but they do require adequate sunlight and irrigation to bloom properly. In northern climates and coastal areas, Hydrangeas will grow beautifully in full sun, but in warmer southern areas, a location in part shade where the shrub receives full to partial morning sun with protection from harsh afternoon sun is ideal. Placed in the right location, given ample moisture, and pruned using the guidelines above, your Hydrangeas will be an abundant source of gorgeous blooms long into the future.|
How to Adjust Hydrangea ColorHydrangeas may produce pink, blue, or lavender blooms, depending on where it’s planted and how it’s fed. The presence of aluminum in the plant ultimately determines the color, and pH affects the uptake of aluminum. Alkaline soils, pH of 6.0 or more, are more likely to produce pink blooms, and more acidic soils, pH 4.5 to 5.5, produce blue flowers.
Pink hydrangeas can be turned blue by applying aluminum sulfate to lower the pH and add aluminum to the soil. Applying lime to raise the pH level will help blue hydrangeas turn pink. If your soil naturally produces very blue or very pink hydrangea flowers, you may need to grow your hydrangeas in containers or raised beds to achieve the desired color. If you do attempt to change the color of your blooms by adding these minerals, dilute them well, and add sparingly. It is very easy to scorch your plants by adding too much. White hydrangeas are not affected by efforts to change bloom color.
Using Hydrangeas for Cut-Flower Arrangements
Cut them just as blooms fully develop.
Cut your flowers in the early morning, before the sun comes up to evaporate some of their moisture.
Cutting at diagonal will allow the stem to take in the most amount of water, some people will even cut slits or fray the ends of the stems a little.
Place your freshly cut flowers in a bucket of cool water to soak for an hour or two before arranging your final product.
Use a commercial floral preservative to get the best results. This will feed your flowers, maintain a constant pH, and will serve as an anti-microbial to prevent premature decay. You should be able to find this at a local nursery.
- Keep in mind that many gardeners and florists complain that hydrangeas wilt faster than other cut flowers and may require a little extra planning.
Keep it out of drafty areas and direct sunlight to prevent the flowers from drying. Finally, you can just sit back and admire your new décor or enjoy your special moment.
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Space according to ultimate size. Choose a good garden soil, high in organic matter that will help keep ample moisture available to the roots. The location should be sunny or partly shaded, the latter being preferable in dry areas.
If the pH of your soil is too high (alkaline), it can be reduced (made more acidic) by the addition of one tablespoon or more of Aluminum Sulfate per plant – this will make your flowers a deeper blue.
An annual mulch of compost is beneficial. In very cold or exposed locations, “hill” up the soil and mulch the base of the plant with pine needles or leaves. Most species require little pruning except the removal of dead flower heads after blooming or in early spring.
For H. arborescens, prune the previous year’s flowering wood to the ground in early spring. For H. macrophylla (H. hortensis) and H. serrata, thin out two- or threeyear- old flowering shoots at ground level to promote vigorous new growth. H.petiolaris should be pruned only for aesthetics.
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Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates:
1. Water with a drip system whenever possible – soak the bed slowly and thoroughly to a depth of 10" to 12".
2. Watering deeply every 3 to 5 days is preferable to a shallow daily watering.
3. Water in the early morning, so foliage has time to dry.
4. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch or similar material to aid in water retention and help keep the roots cool during hot weather.