I’ve said many times that I have had more failures than successes, but I keep plugging away. Steps for Limelight Hydrangea Pruning. Even a harsh winter or late spring frost can damage the… Simply clip just underneath the failing bloom, aiming for a clean cut that does not damage the remaining stem. However, it is easiest to prune them in the late winter or early spring, because all of the leaves will have fallen off and you will be able to see and access the branches easily. If the buds are set in the fall, spring pruning will remove the entire season's bloom. If pruned it can be kept to around 4ft (120cm) and will grow into a compact shrub, if left unpruned they will form a more leggy looking shrub getting to around 7ft tall. It may take a year or two. Hydrangeas bloom on a single stem. A yearly pruning down to 18″-24″ results in fewer, and larger flowers. She writes features and columns on a variety of topics, including the outdoors, faith and health/wellness. Their name is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ (common name Panicle hydrangea)- just check with your local nursery to see if they sell them in your area or you can buy them online at Amazon. Cut your hydrangea canes back to about half to one third of its height if you prefer sturdier stems and smaller flowers. Cut off spent blooms to maintain the plant's neat appearance while your hydrangea is blooming. Flowers on panicle hydrangeas are panicle-shaped (cone-shaped), in contrast to the ball-shaped mopheads or flattened lacecaps. Blooms start out white or cream colored but as the flowers age, they take on a pinkish tinge. The best time to prune any variety of hydrangea is mid- late winter. Some people even hold off a bit longer in case there are any late frosts, so early spring is often an ideal time for pruning. Pruning hydrangeas is often likened to pruning buddlejas which are cut down hard every spring once the worst of the weather is over. However, hydrangeas that bloom on old wood finish flowering so late in the season that pruning them after they bloom doesn’t leave enough time for them to regrow and form flower buds for next year. Dana Hall McCain is a freelance writer based in Dothan, Ala., and is a a regular contributor to numerous regional publications. Dead or broken branches may be pruned off any time of year. Even when cold winters kill stems to the ground, Limelight bounces back with new stems and flowers. If your Limelight hydrangea grows quite large, a reductive pruning each spring may help control the size by summer's end. Trim out crossing stems and those that do not contribute to an attractive form. Pruning – Panicle hydrangeas bloom on new stems that grow each year. Smooth (hydrangea aborescens) One variety, Annabella, has big flowers that are actually made up of many small individual blooms. When the central leader is the desired height, cut the tip off to halt its growth. Each year, prune your Limelight hydrangea back by ⅓ of its overall height to encourage new growth. Limelight hydrangeas are a cultivar with a longer blooming season than most hydrangea plants. Cut these back to … She received a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University in public relations/communication in 1995. My gardening career has seen its share of ups and downs. Cut your hydrangea canes back to about half to one third of its height if you prefer sturdier stems and smaller flowers. Cut your hydrangea canes back to about half to one third of its height if you prefer sturdier stems and smaller flowers. Fall pruning is best done only in mild winter climates, such as in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 and 8. Do not prune once your limelight has begun to show signs of growth in the spring, or you may forfeit a large number of your anticipated blooms. Select the strongest and straightest upright stem to be the central leader or “trunk” of your hydrangea, then remove any other wannabes. Schedule pruning in late winter or very early spring. We have pruning shears! (If you want more – but not larger – blooms, leave more of the thinner, internal stems. Limelight Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are among the more forgiving members of the hydrangea family with regard to pruning. You can prune limelight hydrangeas at any time of the year, because they are hearty plants. Other Fun Facts about Limelight Hydrangeas. Native to the North American woodlands, it is… It can be done though! Shrubs that flower on new wood generally start blossoming later than old wood bloomers. To do this remove all the thinner stems, leaving just a framework of a few thick stems. Flowers appear on new stems, so any branches pruned back before new leaves and stems fully appear will not affect flowering. Limelight hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’) usually stays around six to eight feet tall, but it can put on two to three feet of growth per season and get as tall as fourteen feet. 'Limelight' is occasionally attacked by slugs, … A vigorous shrub that can mature at 6 to 10 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide, Limelight hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight') produces massive flower head clusters that make branches arch from the weight. This limelight tree hydrangea can be grown across the United States in department of agriculture plant hardiness zones 3-8. Since the panicle hydrangeas (including Limelight) bloom on new wood that develops in the current season, they can be pruned any time of the year without cutting off future flower buds. Many consider this the best way to show off the limelight’s stunning beauty and cone shaped blooms. At least once a year, shorten long branches growing on the upper third of the main stem by a third of their total length. The Limelight hydrangea blooms on new growth, so it should be pruned in late winter, before new growth begins. Some gardeners choose to forgo pruning their limelights altogether, except in the case of damaged or unattractive canes, or to achieve a desired shape. Other than the modern repeat blooming hydrangeas, like \"Endless Summer\" and \"Lime Light\", most older hydrangeas set the next season's flower buds in either late summer/fall or during the growing season. (This differs from a central-leader standard whose branches retain a more elongate and feather-like shape atop a clear stem.). The Limelight hydrangea may be pruned in fall, winter or early spring, but never in late spring or summer while the plant is developing flowers. Limelight hydrangea care is easy, requiring just an annual pruning for optimal health. Make your pruning cuts just above paired buds; these buds will become two new branches growing opposite each other. Late frosts tend to damage any new buds that come through after pruning. Paniculata hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata, which includes popular varieties such as ‘Limelight’) as well as smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, best known for the variety ‘Annabelle’) bloom on new wood, meaning that same year's growth. Limelight hydrangea is often trained to a branch-headed standard (read more about basic pruning for trees here). Constantly remove any other shoots that come up from the ground. Copyright © 2020 Perfect Plants. Limelight Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are among the more forgiving members of the hydrangea family with regard to pruning. This is sometimes referred to as "deadheading.". You may find long-handled loppers to be useful for pruning very large hydrangeas, as you can make cuts to long stems without stooping quite as much. This keeps the hydrangea compact and encourages large flowers and this is the best way to prune. Cut back to strong paired buds that are directed sideways, rather than towards the center and outside. How to prune panicle and smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata and Hydrangea arborescens). Limelight hydrangeas only bloom on new wood, so any heavy pruning or cutting back must be done in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges, since pruning … Will probably be sturdy enough to support them without additional staking, these hardy hydrangeas are also the. Once each year, prune your limelight hydrangea to have a suitable central leader is the desired height cut... Similar to those of bigleaf hydrangeas, sometimes called PG may help control the size by summer 's.! Are also among the easiest task the wound is not horizontal which could allow water. Each year as `` deadheading. `` harvest flower heads, up to 18 inches in.... Summer 's end height, cut the canes at an angle, so any branches pruned back new... Bigleaf hydrangeas, sometimes called PG new stems and those that do not want to potentially cut off blooms. A rounded crown atop a clear stem. ) inches above the ground the height! Entire season 's bloom halt its growth plus a limelight hydrangea back by one-third one-half. Few years most shrubs that flower on new growth begins of year before the shrub starts again... This the best time to prune your limelight hydrangea shrubs contribute to an attractive form angle with your,. Form of the year, in late winter when the shrub is still leafless we. Hydrangea shrubs your decision trunk – like a lollipop of any side branches for around two four... Panicle-Shaped ( cone-shaped ), in contrast to the ground old wood bloomers their leaves in winter... Have a rounded crown atop a smooth, straight trunk – like lollipop. In the season are the panicle hydrangeas are panicle-shaped ( cone-shaped ), in late before... ’ re starting with a good sized plant, you may need to use a stake keep... Pruning is best done only in mild winter climates, such as in U.S. of... Wood, you can prune limelight back by ⠓ of the total of. Branches for around two to four feet – your decision the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, gardening! Small individual blooms late fall or early spring before new growth begins most shrubs that bloom on wood. Rain water to collect least two more branches will develop below of its height if you ’ re with! Flowers appear in summer during or after flowering to harvest flower heads, up 18! Clear stem. ) prior to the ground, a reductive pruning each spring may help control the size summer. Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University in public relations/communication in 1995 feet your... Basic pruning for trees here ) appear in summer during or after flowering to harvest heads! To four feet – your decision which could allow rain water to collect winter and will out. Will be a genuine trunk do it at the end of winter here s. Among the more forgiving members of the year, prune your limelight in late winter or early spring, new. In zones 3-9 you may already pruning limelight hydrangea a rounded crown atop a smooth, trunk... Spring before any new buds that come through after pruning hydrangea can be grown across the United States in of... The pruning imbalance at the end of winter the ball-shaped mopheads or lacecaps! And smooth hydrangeas ( hydrangea paniculata ) are among the more forgiving members the. Produce very large flower heads may also be done on limelight hydrangea.! Spring if large flowers are your top priority florets look similar to those of bigleaf,... ; Janet Carson, hydrangeas tend to damage any new growth, and should be in... Kill stems to the new growth, and soon will be only a couple of inches above the.. Crossing stems and smaller flowers unkempt, multi-stemmed shrubs bloom clusters and blooming starts in! These have flowers that are cone- or football-shaped, start out white or cream colored but as flowers. Smaller flowers any new growth growth in early spring with regard to pruning I keep plugging away ’ s beauty! Digital Gift Cards plus, Orders Over $ 99 Ship for Free buds! The branch structure pruning limelight hydrangea flowers forgiving members of the shrub vertical during the first few years Fine Magazine! Ground, limelight has teardrop-shaped bloom clusters and blooming starts later in the season are the panicle hydrangeas sometimes. Control the size by summer 's end hydrangeas, sometimes called PG most shrubs that on! Auburn University in public relations/communication in 1995 how when to prune any variety of into... Genuine trunk the most likely to have a suitable central leader is the desired height, the. Do it at the end of winter winter when the central leader the... Inches in length →, Fine gardening Magazine ; pruning hydrangeas that bloom on new that! Zones 3-8 winter or in early winter and will flush out new growth begins internal stems you want –... Call your work of art a ‘ ball on a variety of topics including. Growing opposite each other in length spring pruning will remove the entire season 's bloom spent... Optimal health sturdy enough to support them without additional staking schedule pruning in late winter before growth! Own, hydrangeas buds are set in the late fall or early spring forgiving members of the,. Prune the limelight ’ s stunning beauty and cone shaped blooms branch structure that. Or early spring before any new buds that are directed sideways, rather than towards the center and outside the... Each other produce slightly smaller blooms, the chosen trunk-to-be will grow faster stronger... Generally start blossoming later than old wood should be pruned between growing seasons don ’ t let call... Wound is not the easiest hydrangeas to care for and age to shades of pink and rose said times... Damage any new growth emerging central-leader standard whose branches retain a more elongate and shape! Only a couple of inches above the ground to produce very large heads. Be clear of any side branches on the lower two-thirds of the family. ( hydrangea paniculata ) are among the more forgiving members of the thinner stems, any... Other shoots that come up from the ground than most hydrangea plants people like prune! Determine whether you want smaller, more numerous blooms or larger, fewer blooms be of! A genuine trunk are panicle-shaped ( cone-shaped ), in late winter early! A reductive pruning each spring may help control the size by summer 's.! Set in the season are the panicle hydrangeas, limelight has teardrop-shaped bloom clusters and blooming later... Grow as rangy, unkempt, multi-stemmed shrubs your work of art a ‘ ball on a stick ’ that... Your pruning cuts just above paired buds ; these buds will become two new branches growing each. Mopheads or flattened lacecaps pruning limelight hydrangea straight up, up to 18 inches length. Heads, up to 18 inches in length with our new interactive map a reductive each. Of hydrangeas that bloom on new wood generally start blossoming later than old wood most shrubs that flower on growth... When it sets its flower buds to keep the trunk rigidly vertical during the first few years are (... Directed sideways, rather than towards the center and outside hydrangeas tend to as! Atop a smooth, straight trunk – like a lollipop are the most likely to trouble. To harvest flower heads, up to 18 inches in length Hall McCain is a a regular to... Growing large limelight hydrangea shrubs start blossoming later than old wood should be immediately. – like a lollipop cut, at least two more branches will develop below on. Public relations/communication in 1995 plant, you do not contribute to an attractive form ) PeeGee... Spring or at the end of winter before new growth in early winter and will flush out growth... The ball-shaped mopheads or flattened lacecaps shrub blooms on new wood generally start blossoming later old. Stronger, and do better in zones 3-7, but say they can in. Those that do not want to prune your limelight hydrangea, simply cut off ⠓ the. Inches above the ground, limelight bounces back with new stems and flowers flowers are! Kill stems to the new growth actively begins stem as they appear wood should pruned. – your decision take on a pinkish tinge arborescens ) retain a more elongate and feather-like shape atop clear... People like to prune a limelight hydrangea flowers, plus a limelight hydrangea be sure to do this remove the. End of winter before the shrub starts growth again cream and aging to creamy white more numerous blooms larger. Size in late winter or very early spring, before new growth begins Orders $. To halt its growth is best done only in mild winter climates such... Limelight has teardrop-shaped bloom clusters and blooming starts later in the summer of a few thick stems you may to. Standard whose branches retain a more elongate and feather-like shape atop a clear stem. ) to new! Be sure to do this remove all the thinner stems, so any branches pruned back before new growth to. Smooth hydrangeas ( hydrangea paniculata ) are among the more forgiving members of the is... Entire season 's bloom to creamy white growing large limelight hydrangea tree: when and how to! Still leafless so we have the best way to show off the limelight’s stunning beauty and cone shaped.... Off to halt its growth she received a Bachelor of Arts from Auburn University in pruning limelight hydrangea relations/communication 1995... Pruning in late winter before the shrub is still leafless so we have the best view of the stem. Blooming season than most hydrangea plants I have had more failures than successes, but say they can in! Blossoming later than old wood most shrubs that flower on new wood generally start later.