The limelight hydrangea is a deciduous shrub, surprising by its exuberant summer bloom which spreads from June to September. It is a hardy and perennial plant that benefits from easy cultivation and maintenance.
It adapts itself as well to the culture in full ground as in pot. It will embellish a bed, constitute an elegant flowering hedge or bring a touch of color to your interior.
When to plant a limelight hydrangea?
The ideal time to plant a limelight hydrangea is early fall. The soil is still warm and rainfall will help the plant to recover. The plant will have more time to establish itself before the summer heat. A spring planting is of course possible but in this case, watering will have to be sustained throughout the summer following the planting.
Where to plant a limelight hydrangea?
Florist’s limelight hydrangeas (limelight hydrangea macrophylla) fear very sunny exposures. Prefer to plant them in the East or West so that they can benefit from the morning or evening sun without suffering from the heat in the middle of the day.
Half-shade suits them very well; the foot of a wall or the cover of large trees will offer an ideal space for their culture.
These plants appreciate a neutral to acid soil, if yours is very calcareous, the basic colors can vary. The blue may turn into pink, better know it! To overcome this problem you will find some tips in our file dedicated to the subject.
How to plant a limelight hydrangea?
Dip the pot of your limelight hydrangea in a basin of water at room temperature to rehydrate the root ball.
Meanwhile, dig a hole twice the size of the pot in the chosen location in the garden.
Add 2 shovelfuls of well-decomposed compost to the excavated garden soil. If the soil is sticky and too clayey, feel free to mix in a few shovelfuls of river sand in addition to the compost. If the soil is chalky, replace half of it with heather soil.
Pour two or three handfuls of ground horn powder into the bottom of the planting hole and cover it with the prepared mixture to just under half the height of the hole.
Remove the limelight hydrangea from its container, untying the root bun if necessary. This will facilitate the recovery.
Place your limelight hydrangea in the center of the hole and adjust the height of the soil so that the neck of the plant is flush with the ground.
Fill in the planting hole and pack the plant well around the base.
How to plant a limelight hydrangea in a pot?
All limelight hydrangeas can also be grown in pots, to nicely decorate your balcony or patio. Take a pot of about 2 ft deep and on the side, provide a drainage of expanded clay balls at the bottom of the pot.
Fill the pot with a mixture of one third topsoil, one third good planting soil enriched with composted manure and one third heather soil.
After planting the limelight hydrangea
Make sure that the soil never dries out deeply.
Spread a mulch of pine bark thick enough to keep the soil fresh while preventing weeds from growing.
Limelight hydrangea maintenance
Pruning limelight hydrangeas
Flowers will grow on the previous year’s stems so if you prune too severely you can compromise the bloom.
Clean up pruning, remove dead wood and faded flowers.
End of winter and early spring pruning
Annual pruning done in February-March. Prune about 1 inch above the first pair of buds from the end of the branch.
Rejuvenation pruning is done on older trees that lack vigor. All stems are cut back to 8 inches from the ground. You sacrifice one year of flowering but the limelight hydrangea will regain its full vigor afterwards.
Remove dead wood and weak branches. Aerate the center of the shrub to promote good light penetration by removing intersecting branches.
Cut back the oldest branches at their base. They are easily recognized: they are generally thicker, whiter and more branched. Cut them back short.
Watering the limelight hydrangea
During the growing season, water copiously. In summer, when the limelight hydrangea is in bloom, it is advisable to water it abundantly, preferably in the evening to avoid evaporation. Mulching at the base of the shrub will help conserve moisture.
Each year, in the spring, bring organic fertilizer to the surface to promote flowering.
Limelight hydrangea color
The color of limelight hydrangeas depends on the acidity of the soil. The more acidic the soil, the bluer the limelight hydrangea. To do this, use heather soil or acidic soil mixed with topsoil. Every year, make surface contributions of heather soil. Finally, use aluminum sulfate powder that you deposit at the bottom of the planting hole.
Which plants should I associate with limelight hydrangeas?
Limelight hydrangeas make beautiful beds and borders in shady locations. Traditionally, they adorn the northern facades of houses and fence walls. Space the plants one meter to 5 feet apart.
You can pair them with spring-blooming bulbs, shady perennials like perennial fuchsias or annuals like impatiens.
Climbing limelight hydrangea naturally adorns shady facades, but also the trunks of old bare trees and can be grown as ground cover. Grown in containers, limelight hydrangeas form pretty flowering pots on shaded terraces and balconies.
Things to know about limelight hydrangeas
Limelight hydrangeas are found in most gardens and almost everywhere in the world.
Native to Asia, they generally bloom from early summer to late fall.
Except for the white-flowered varieties, the color of the flowers depends on the acidity of the soil in which the plant is installed.
Thus, the more acidic the soil, the bluer the flower. This means that a limelight hydrangea planted in pure heather soil will be much more likely to be perfectly blue.
It will be pink to red for neutral or rather chalky soils.
If you have a north-facing wall, grow a climbing limelight hydrangea.