Thursday, August 6, 2015

Limelight Hydrangea Growing Tips

I planted these "Limelight" Hydrangeas two years ago, so this summer is really the first year they are considered established and start to issue very showy flowers. It has been a very rewarding experience growing this plant, so if you are an impatient gardener and looking for a quick win, you should give this flowering shrub a try. Unlike most other species of hydrangeas which have round flower heads, Limelight's blooms are panicle-shaped. Flowers start to come out in early July, reach full bloom in mid-to-early August, and they bloom all the way into late fall when they turn into an amazing shade of pale pink. 

This is one of the Limelight Hydrangea plants in my backyard, after two years in the ground. They are just over 7 feet in height now, and will grow up to 10 feet at maturity. 

This was from last year. It grew about 2 feet within a year, and at an accelerated rate once established until they reach maturity. 

Last year.

This year.

Here are a few of my growing tips:

  • Limelight Hydrangeas are in general pretty easy to care for. They can tolerate part shade but they thrive in long hours of full sun. You can see the difference in size between the two plants in my backyard: the one on the left is exposed to all-day full sun; and the one on the right doesn't get into the sun until late morning. 

  • They are not fussy about fertilization: I use all purpose continuous release (12-4-8) type in late spring, and that was it. They did however give me a scare a few weeks ago when flowers started to come out. Some leaves started to turn yellow and more and more followed. It appeared they had iron deficiency. I tried Miracle-Gro's Ultra Bloom (15-30-15) which contains iron and within days the leaves stopped yellowing. Whew! 

  • Pest problem: there appears to be none so far (knock on wood). A few Japanese beetles would rest on the flowers but they are not actually eating them. 
  • Watering: they love a deep soak. Their leaves would wilt and flowers appear all dehydrated at the end of a hot summer day. But give them a generous watering and they will bounce back within hours. 

I created this animated GIF to show you their progress from May to present (Aug 6). Suffice to say that it's been very fun seeing them grow like this. 

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