Limelight Time

You have heard plenty from me over the past few years about hydrangeas.  OK, I am crazy about them.  I am reluctant to address the topic once again-but the summit of my summer is all about the coming of the hydrangeas.  Hydrangeas figure prominently in any American garden.  I do not plant Annabelle hydrangeas anymore.  Their ball shaped flower heads flop to the ground, unless they are rigorously staked.   Love the Annabelles?  Plant them on top of a wall-their drooping stalks and flower heads will soften that space.     

Limelight hydrangeas are a hybrid of white blooming hydrangeas that require much less of your time and effort.  They stand up straight, they bloom in August in my zone for what seems like months.  The blooms acquire a pink tinge as they begin to age; they may deepen to rose pink in the late stage.  Here, they happily fill in the space between the densiformis yews, and the tall evergreens. This entrance is very inviting on a summer day.   

Limelight hydrangeas are strongly growing shrubs.  They soften the evergreen structure of a landscape.   They adapt to almost any pruning style.  I have pruned them to within 14 inches of the ground, and had good flowering, and shorter height.  All they need is a good set of buds above ground to develop.    

Lots of hydrangeas available now in nurseries local to me are shy bloomers.  Pink or blue hydrangeas in my zone-sometimes they oblige, and sometimes not.  I so love hydrangeas blooming in the summer, and I favor those varieties that perform.   Should you be looking for a considerable summer show, look no further.  The greenish white blooms compliment any color scheme you might have in mind.    

The Limelight hydrangea panicles are tall, and cone shaped. They make a big statement, planted in blocks, or rows.   

This hedge of Limelights is three staggered rows, planted 30 inches apart; it has been pruned lightly.  Most of the pruning is done on the top branches, so the side branches still get enough light to flower.  I so love those plants that ask for so little, and deliver so much.  Not interested in a garden extravaganza such as this?  One Limelight is equally as effective.     

It is high summer in my zone.  I have 2 big blocks of Limelight hydrangeas on my small property.  Those blocks are making a very big statement today.  They grow so fast-buy little ones.  Plan and plant them wherever you need a plant 5- 7 feet tall.  Plant them wherever you need some summer romance.  I can promise you this-Limelight hydrangeas will endow your garden with a little late summer magic.


  1. Holy cow!
    Major limelight hydrangeas!

    We just planted a few last year and already they are blooming. We are hydrangea devotees and have gorgeous pink and blue and lavender right now. The hubbie uses them for his floral arrangements, so we make sure they receive the water that they want.

    With the rain of these last few days, hasn’t it been nice not to have to water the pots?

  2. Sold!

  3. I absolutely love my Limelights. They are the dots that connected my landscaping and make looking out my kitchen a delight. Thanks so very much.

  4. Fedoruk Farmville says

    Amazing website and amazing topics. I like your practicality and style. I’ll be visiting your site all the time now and will be planting Limelight this year (filling in a 100′ long yard). Really appreciate your article above.

  5. Al;an Hireson uk. says

    Hi, just purchest my first Limelight, What is the best mix ( ph wise) for it .
    It,s in very large container? Thanks

    sent 1300 on 19-08-13

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Alan, I do plant mine in large containers. I don’t think Limelight is fussy about Ph. But I do plant them in soil, not soilless mix. Deborah

  6. I’m sold on these! I live in zone 7b – central Virginia. Our soil is clay which I understand I will need to amend. I have a 20′ strip along my dining room (it faces northwest ) where I would like to plant these. The foundation is rather high so we look from a huge arched window down on our property from that side of the house. I think I have about 6 or 7 feet from the ground to the window sill.

    How far from the house should I plant them? Would 4 plants be enough to achieve the look you show in your photographs? I’m not sure what you mean by “on center”.
    Your garden is so lovely!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Yolie, on center means the distance from the center of one plant to the center of the next. I would plant them 30-36 inches on center, and 2 feet away from the house. Deborah

  7. Greetings. Ran across your site googling how to manage my limelights. After being away for a period of time found my limelights seriously dehydrated from a brutal heat two summers ago. Have been totally leggy since. Will cutting them back to two feet bring back a full bush again? They are currently about 5-6 feet tall Thanks for any advice

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Sara, cut away. I usually do down to 30″. Do not go lower than 14″. Watering them will help a lot. best, Deborah

  8. Hi Deborah. Thanks for this gift of a blog on gardening and Limelight Hydrangeas! I am writing you from Toronto (USDA Zone 5) and I plan to create a privacy hedge of limelights that I hope will fill in quickly for me to enjoy the soonest possible time (we are seniors so I do not wish to wait the full 10 years for the shrub to mature and reach its 8’ maximum width/ height… the earlier it fills in, the better). I read in your post that in one of your projects pictured above, you installed three staggered rows of limelight 30” centered for a quick and lush cover. I plan to do the same except with 2 staggered rows. May I please clarify how this recommended spacing of 30” on center work in a staggered lay out if I wish to somehow achieve what you have designed. Do I simply have two staggered rows of LLs planted where 30” is the distance between plants in each row? How far apart do you recommend should the two rows be? Should I also ensure that 30” is measured diagonally between each staggered plant alternating between the 2 rows? While LLs are vigorous growers, I am sure the secret to quickly growing this flowering hedge is in having the staggered rows – and in doing it correctly. Are the 3 gallon LL pots, when planted in zone 5 full sun with this pattern and spacing, mature enough to quickly provide privacy in just a few growing seasons? Thanks in advance for your advise and hope to hear from you. Sincerely, Dominic

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Dominic, You will get the same quick coverage planting the 2 rows at 36″-40″. 36″ apart, and on the diagonal. all the best, Deborah

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