All About The Limelight Hydrangea

by dustytoes

The light green, lacy flower of the Limelight hydrangea is popular for adding beauty to any landscape, and is often the flower of choice for weddings.

Hydrangea flowers come in many colors and a variety of shapes. The one common characteristic they have is that the flowers are big. The Limelight variety has an elongated bloom made up of many small clusters of flowers that open from the bottom to the top making the flower pyramid shaped.
The flower begins as a creamy white color that changes slowly to light green. Very often brides choose to decorate their bouquets and reception tables with it as the light green color is so lovely.

Growing the Light Green Flowers

The white, or light green, limelight flowers are elongated and lacy looking.

panicle panicled flowersA panicled flower is simply one made up of many smaller flowers, each growing on it's own stem.  The Miriam-Webster dictionary calls it a "loosely branched flower cluster".

In the case of the Limelight many flowers form in a pyramid shape with the ones nearest the bottom opening first.  This gives the bloom a temporary lacy effect with buds at the top. 

The buds and newer flowers are more greenish than the ones lower on the stem.

Once all the buds are open the flower takes on a cone-shape.


How many hydrangea shrubs are in your landscape?

Find Your Hardiness Zone Before Buying

The limelight hydrangea shrub will thrive in most of the continental United States.

The Limelight hydrangea bush will grow in zones 4-8.  This area includes most of the United States except for the extreme southern and northern areas as seen on this Plant Hardiness Zone Map by the USDA (Dept. of Agriculture).

Click on each state to view a closeup of the zones.  

In general, they don't like it really hot or awfully cold, but they are hardy and can withstand a lot.


Hydrangeas Are Easy to Grow, But Pruning Can Make Them More Beautiful

Facts and tips on growing the Limelight shrub.

grow hydrangea plantsFacts about the hydrangea named "Limelight".

  • Limelight Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
  • Grows 6-8 feet tall and wide
  • Elongated white to light green and sometimes pinkish flowers
  • Needs no pruning, unless you are shaping it into a tree form.  If you must, prune in early Spring and it will still flower.
  • Likes sun, but some shade is okay.
  • Moist soil, not overly wet.

(Photo: Beautiful Limelight hydrangea "trees". Taken in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire.)


Basic Care of a Newly Planted Limelight

Hydrangeas are quite carefree, especially after they have matured.

limelight shrub flowers

This is a picture of my new hydrangea bush. I planted two of them this Spring (2012) and did not expect any flowers. I was wrong!  Both plants are full of blooms, which are mostly white, but light green on the tips where the new petals will open.

Hydrangeas are hardy plants and the only care they need is plenty of water when they are fist planted. I also added bonemeal and compost to the planting hole when they went into the ground to give them a good start.

These get about a half day's worth of sunshine.

I will add lots of leaf matter and mulch before winter sets in.  Hydrangeas are deciduous so all the leaves will be gone for winter.

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Hydrangeas and Changing The Flower Color

Certain varieties will bloom in blue or pink according to the acidity of the soil.

Although certain varieties of hydrangeas will change color if the soil is more or less acidic, the Limelight is not affected (color-wise) by the type of soil.

Macrophylla's such as the mopheads, or plants with rounded, ball-shaped flowers, can be pink or blue because of soil content.  This includes other varieties as well.

The paniculatas, like the Limelight, will always bloom the same color.  It cannot be changed.

The Limelight Can Be Trimmed Into a Small, and Beautiful Tree

The paniculata variety is the only one with stalks sturdy enough create a tree.

tree form paniculata whiteYour own Limelight hydrangea bush, or any of the paniculata variety, can be trimmed into a tree.  All you need is the know how, and the guts to chop into it.  It may take a year or two for the shrub to begin to look nice and each year trimming (in early Spring) must be done to maintain the shape.

To train your hydrangea shrub into a tree, begin by looking at the branches.  Is there one in the center that is straight and tall?  That can become the trunk.  All other branches will be trimmed away from the bottom.  Or, you could choose to have multiple stalks holding the plant.  Each year the new growth will have to be trimmed away from the trunk as you let the top part multiply and bloom.

Advice About Pruning Hydrangeas

Unless the shrub gets too large for the space, most hydrangeas do not need to be pruned.

branches spring hydrangeaFor the most part hydrangea shrubs grow well without any pruning.  If they are planted in the correct spot and given plenty of room to reach their mature size, they will do well all on their own.

Some hydrangeas bloom on old wood, some on new wood and some on both.  What that means is that if you do cut the stems at the wrong time branches with buds could be removed and the bush will not flower.

The Limelight needs no pruning.  Flowers form at the end of strong, woody branches.  It blooms on new wood, which means that each Spring and Summer season flowers will form on the newly growing stems.  If you need to prune it because it's getting too large, do so in early Spring.  This is when you would prune your "tree" hydrangea as well. (See above)

More White Flowering Hydrangeas

Besides the Limelight, many varieties of hydrangea are white, at least to begin with.

Hydrangeas are the ever-changing flower.  As the growing season progresses, the flowers don't simply die, as with most flowering shrubs, they progressively change color and eventually dry out on the stem.  They always look beautiful.

If delicate white flowers are what you want, here is a list of other hydrangeas that will have white flowers.  Check each for their zone planting guide before purchase.

  • Blushing Bride ~ (mophead variety) White changing to green, light blue, pink.
  • Pinky Winky ~ (will start off white and change to pink)
  • Pee Gee (Grandiflora) ~ Also a panicle flower that is pure white eventually changing to soft pink.
  • Incrediball or Snowball ~ (mophead) Large, round white flowers.
  • Annabelle ~ Round, white flowers
  • Oakleaf ~ Long, white flowers with oakleaf shaped leaves that change color in fall.
  • Lacecaps ~ (some flowers of this variety will be white)
  • Climbing Hydrangea ~ These get huge. (see a great photo at Dave's Garden site).
Limelight in Summer
Limelight in Summer

Flowers and Paper

Customize invitation templates that contain realistic and beautiful hydrangea flower designs.
Hydrangea shrubs can be a beautiful and worthwhile investment in your home landscape.
Updated: 10/01/2023, dustytoes
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dustytoes on 03/23/2014

Thanks very much! I know from your beautiful articles here that you enjoy flowers.

DerdriuMarriner on 03/23/2014

Dustytoes, Limelight hydrangea is a lovely variety. I enjoyed your photos, which capture their beauty.

janices7 on 03/10/2013

This is one variety that I can actually grown in Minnesota so I love them. They are gorgeous both in the landscape and as wedding centerpiece flowers. Great job!

Mira on 12/04/2012

Wow, it's really beautiful! Never seen it before. Thanks for sharing the photos. I'll refer back to the text when I can convince someone to plant it for my sake :D.

Tiggered on 09/28/2012

I haven't seen this variety before, it's beautiful!

BrendaReeves on 09/20/2012

That is a beautiful one, Dusty. I've got to plant some in my yard.

katiem2 on 08/23/2012

Nothing, In fact I think I should add one to my property. You've inspired me! Thanks Pam :)K

dustytoes on 08/23/2012

Katie - I know, right? What is not to like! TY ;-}

katiem2 on 08/23/2012

Well the hydrangea is beautiful and so are your related products. Who cares what Madonna thinks anyway??? :)K

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