Little Lime Hydrangea, a dwarf Limelight Hydrangea, is a beautiful, unique shrub that fits into any size garden and provides season-long interest. It's easy to grow and provides beautiful cut flowers.
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It's no secret to my gardening friends that I have a love affair with hydrangeas.
By the time we moved from our cottage garden, I had planted - and enjoyed - ten hydrangeas, including Endless Summer, old-fashioned lacecaps, maple-leaved hydrangea, and a Pee-Gee hydrangea trained to a tree shape.
But the last one I planted, and maybe loved the most, was a Little Lime Hydrangea.
Little Lime Hydrangea is a dwarf version of Limelight Hydrangea, growing 3-5 feet tall instead of 6-8 feet.
I planted the shrub in our small half-circle bed next to the gravel patio in the back yard that also included a standard Pee Gee Hydrangea (you can just see it at the top of the first photo). That plant's blossoms start white and also turn pink and green by the end of the season so the two hydrangeas really complimented each other.
You could see this bed from all the back windows of the house as well as when we were eating outside, and the hydrangeas made it one of my favorites of the whole yard, providing interest and color from April through October.
Little Lime Hydrangea
Why Grow Little Lime Hydrangea?
There are a number of reasons to grow this sweet little shrub.
First and foremost is the blossoms. Since the Little Lime was so visible where I planted it, I could enjoy every stage of the blossom development.
The blossoms start out as, well...lime green (yes, it's named well) in a loose paniculata (cone) shape and then change as it matures.
Bonus! The plant continues to put out new lime green blossoms through the season, similar to Endless Summer, since it blooms on new wood.
As the blooms age, they become tipped with mauvy-pink, which continue to change over time to a greenish-white color with subtle pink highlights.
One of my favorite things about hydrangeas is that most of the varieties have blooms that change color and shades throughout the season!
Another reason to grow the dwarf version of Limelight is that it has much less issues with flopping and drooping stems that the larger shrub seems to have.
It's also almost a "plant-it-and-forget-it" shrub. Give it a yearly layer of soil-feeding compost (over a layer of newspaper, of course), and then a prune in the spring and that's about it for maintenance.
Other than clipping all the lovely blooms you want, that is.
How to Grow Little Lime Hydrangea
- Plant Little Lime in well drained soil that's been amended with compost in an area of part shade to sun, zones 3-8 (warmer climates should look for an area with afternoon shade).
- You can also plant this in a container, where it will keep more in the 3 foot range for height.
- Cover the base with a layer of soil-feeding compost when planting and then cover with newspaper and mulch to keep weeds away.
- Water regularly during the dry season.
- Prune and shape the plant to 1-2 feet in late winter or early spring to encourage new blooms and strong stems.
- If growing a hedge, plant them about 4 feet apart. They grow 3-5 feet in both height and width (though my experience with growing in a sunny location was the full five feet tall).
All that's left is to enjoy your blooms!
Decorating with Little Lime Hydrangea
Little Lime hydrangea is super easy to dry at the mature stage - just cut the flowers and set them in containers to enjoy all through the winter months.
We made a simple long box from salvaged wood for our table, added Little Lime blooms and a few white mini 'Baby Boo' pumpkins and fall decor - done!
Add some of the cut blossoms to a vintage galvanized container for the porch and you have a cute look that will last all fall.
I loved the simple mantle I created one year with heritage green Ball canning jars which each held a single large Little Lime flower. Sweet and simple as a transition from late summer to fall before all the pumpkins come out.
Little Lime Hydrangea was chosen as Landscape Plant of the Year in 2016, and I totally see why!
I'm sad that I can't plant it in my new farmhouse landscape (dratted deer...), but I'm definitely going to plant one in my fenced garden so I can cut some of the gorgeous blooms.
Do you grow Little Lime - or will you now?
This article has been updated - it was originally published in September of 2012.