Limelight hydrangea is well-known for its beautiful, pyramid shape. Its large, showy, creamy-white flowers with a greenish tinge on them, are another attractive feature. These flowers bloom from mid-summer up to the first frost. With the onset of fall, they change into a rich, pink color. When it is grown as a container plant or as an hedge, it blends well with the landscape. Even though this plant is mostly grown as a low shrub, it can sometimes grow up to a height of 6 to 8 feet. The plant can be grown in areas where the temperature goes down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit during winter months. Also, Hydrangea has a lot of species; the limelight one is called Hydrangea paniculata.
Plant it in a location where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight every day. However, during the afternoon, it will require some shade. Do not keep in under shade for prolonged durations as this may affect its blooms. Balance sunlight exposure properly.
This plant can be grown in all types of soil provided it is well-drained. Before planting, treat the soil with a good amount of peat moss. Then dig a large, 3-inch diameter hole into the soil. The depth of the hole should be as much as the container of the plant.
Limelight hydrangea can be planted at any time of the year. However, the best time to plant it is early part of summer, after the last frost is over. This plant is propagated from cuttings. Place the plant cutting into the dug hole. Then fill up the hole with the soil in such a way that a saucer-shaped depression is created around the stem. If you are planting it as a hedge, keep a gap of 5-6 feet in between two plants.
Watering the Plant
After planting, water the soil thoroughly. This plant needs evenly moist soil for proper growth. Fill up the shallow depression with water; the area around the stem is most important. As soon as you notice that the water has drained, you must fill it up with water again in order to maintain the soil's moisture. On an average, this flowering plant requires at least one inch of water every week during the growing season. While watering the plants in growing season, just take care that the water doesn't come in contact with the flowers.
A thick layer of mulch consisting of bark or wood chip should be used to cover up the soil around the plant. Leave a 2-inch diameter area around the plant mulch-free; this way, the water will flow freely to the stem. Ideally, the thickness of the layer of mulch should be 3-4 inches. Mulching is done to control growth of weeds and to retain moisture in the soil.
Add Compost and Fertilizer
A rich organic soil promotes growth of limelight hydrangeas. For this reason, spread a thick layer of organic compost on the soil surrounding the plant just before the growing season. A slow release fertilizer is best suited for this plant. It should be added once in a year around mid-summer. As fall approaches, the plant enters a dormant state. Therefore, there should not be any fertilizing after August.
As it is a fast-growing plant, it requires aggressive pruning. The biggest advantage of pruning is that it promotes healthy growth of the plant and improves its blooming. It should be pruned twice a year: in summer and autumn. At the end of the growing season, when the plant is dormant, it should be pruned to half its size. During summer time, you should prune the plant in order to get rid of faded flowers.
This plant tends to get infested by pests like aphids and spider mites; check it carefully for signs of damage on a regular basis.