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Hydrangea 'Limelight': Midsummer's beauty

As the seasons turn, different plants take center stage in my garden. Midsummer can be tough here in the Deep South, but while many plants are retreating from the heat, Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight' becomes a garden stand out.

Limelight's cone shaped blooms open creamy white to chartreuse. A feature of my hydrangea walk, Limelight is also visible from the kitchen and from the patio.I love the blooms that glow in the golden sunshine of late afternoon. Six to twelve inches long, the flower heads are held upright on sturdy stems. The blooms will persist well into autumn, and as that season advances many of the blooms will take on multiple shades of pink, mingling beautifully with other blooms that still retain their green tints. The color, unlike many hydrangeas, is not dependent on soil pH.

Limelight is a large shrub. Mine is about four years old, and I prune it every year. The last two years it easily grew to eight feet tall and wide after pruning. I wonder just how large it would grow if I didn't cut it back! (A dwarf form, Little Lime, will grow up to five feet.) The blooms form on new wood, so pruning should be done in late fall through early spring. It isn't necessary to prune it every year, but pruning Limelight a third to a half will result in larger blooms.

Limelight likes good loamy soil, but it is adaptable. In spring I fertilize with an organic slow-release fertilizer. Then in midsummer I give it a shot of fish emulsion, one quarter cup per five gallons of water combined with epsom salts, one cup per five gallons of water, as a natural pick-me-up. 

Mine gets morning sun and filtered afternoon shade. I think in cooler climates it would do fine in full sun. Limelight tolerates hot, humid conditions, but it will wilt in intense heat and drought. Sometimes I do give it extra water, as I do all my hydrangeas; but generally, I consider this midsummer beauty an easy care shrub.

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Reader Comments (16)

This is pretty. We can't grow hydrangeas where I am. Even the cut hydrangeas that come from the highlands rarely last more than a day. We have to keep them in the iced water when using them for centerpieces.

July 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBom

I just bought one this spring, and have it in my little patio garden, but maybe I will need to expand the bed if it gets that big...oh dear...lol.

Yours is stunning, can't wait to see mine when it grows up.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

This really is a fine hydrangea. You're right about its tolerating more sun. Here in Connecticut, mine grow in light ranging from shade to full sun. Your beautiful images remind me of what I'll have in coming months.

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLee May

That is such a beautiful plant. Whenever I visit the Montreal Botanical Gardens, I always end up spending a lot of time among their wonderful collection of hydrangeas. While the blue lace-cap forms make my heart beat faster, it is the varieties of Hydrangea paniculata that draw me back over and over again.

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Your limelight hydrangea is a beauty Deb, especially the shot with the sun shining through the blossom. It instantly sparks ideas of all things lime: lime green glassware for the patio, summer drinks including gin&tonic with a slice of lime, lime slices floating in a pitcher of ice water, key lime pie………….I guess I just love limes!!

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I want I want I want! I can't find in South Africa :(

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack Holloway

I so want my hydrangeas to flourish but not without rain...I like your pick me up for the hydrangeas and will note it for future use...

July 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

What a beautiful hydrangea, the flower heads are fantastic. Love your pick me up for your plants, can understand that they would love it.

July 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

Fish emulsion must have an interesting aroma during midsummer.
Lime-green is one of my favourite flower colours and the cone-shape flowers make an interesting variation from the usual mop-heads. Beautiful.

July 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

That is a fine looking Hydrangea Debs, elegant even!

July 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

I am glad you highlighted Limelight. It is a nice substitute for Annabelle. Less people know of Limelight.

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I was so glad to see your post! I bought one of these at a little roadside nursery in another town. The owner told me it was related to the hydrangea but couldn't remember the name, so I didn't know for sure what it was. It grows crazy fast, and I've just been cutting it back now and then. No blooms this summer, so now I know where I went wrong! Always enjoy your blog and lovely pictures!

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Wow! Your hydrangeas look great. Have had no luck with them. Guess i'm not growing the right varieties....

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris

We at one time had a Hydranges very similar to this, it was called Paniculata. I must look out for Limelight it does look fabulous in your garden.

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

I am a big fan of this hydrangea as well. Mine is in full sun and is hanging in there with a bit of extra water during this summer's long drought. I added Little Lime this spring and am looking forward to seeing how it performs.

July 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Honestly, I'm a bit envious of your hydrangea! I am happy for you though to have such a gorgeous view from the kitchen. Lord knows there is enough time spent in there; you might as well have something beautiful to look at!!

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCat
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