Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday's Fav's: Limelight Hydrangea

My Limelight Hydrangea is truly one of my fav's! I wait all summer for the blooms to arrive, and they are gorgeous!

They've been opening for a week or so, and most are now fully opened, yet new blooms continue to emerge.

The size of the blooms is amazing! And even with the recent torrential downpours, the plant continues to hold its giant blooms upright.

Even though Limelight is a relatively late bloomer in my garden, I don't mind. With these beautiful blooms in late summer, Limelight is a shining star in my garden.

The blooms emerge with a soft, lime green tint, hence their name, and open fully to a pure white.

This photo shows how large the blossoms can get - they engulf my hand! The blooms are easily 6-8" long. Though they have only a very slight fragrance, they delight me with their little florets combining to make these large blossoms.

The fluffy blooms last for many weeks, gradually turning a pinkish hue. The blossoms can be cut and dried, though I tend to leave them on the plant even into the winter months. 

Sometimes I will find an old blossom that has come off in the winter winds, blowing about the snow-covered ground. That makes me smile, too, as I remember how gorgeous the plant is in summertime.

The only pruning I do with my Limelight hydrangea is to remove any dead wood. Occasionally, there may be a few twigs to remove. Other than that, this plant, once established, is free of maintenance.

I suppose you could trim off the old flowers after summer if you desired to. And if you like to dry the blossoms, you can remove them at any time.

Limelight does like to have evenly moist soil, so I'll set the hose to a dribble and soak the area surrounding the base of the plant in really hot, dry weather. Each year, my plant has grown wider, and I will make its garden bed larger, if necessary, to accommodate its width.

This cheery plant is a stand-out in the garden. Give it plenty of room to grow, and water regularly until it is established. Then maintain a moist soil, but do not over water it. And you will be rewarded with beautiful white blooms long after most other plants have finished blossoming.

NOTE: The paniculata hydrangeas differ from the mophead (macrophylla) hydrangeas many of us are familiar with. Mopheads include Annabelle and Endless Summer, two of my most reliable plants in the landscape. The leaves of paniculata are smaller, and the bloom time is much later in summer. Both types deserve a place in the garden!

Scientific name: Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight'

Common name: Limelight Hydrangea

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Zone: 4-8

Light requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Height: 6-8'

Spread: 6-8'

Bloom time: Mid-late summer through mid-fall

Caveats: Some parts of the plant may be poisonous if ingested

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