Cut back to strong paired buds that are directed sideways, rather than towards the center and outside. Even a harsh winter or late spring frost can damage the… These have flowers that are cone- or football-shaped, start out white or lime green and age to shades of pink and rose. A branch-headed standard is a tree or shrub pruned and trained to have a rounded “mop” head of branches atop a clear stem. Fortunately, these hardy hydrangeas are also among the easiest hydrangeas to care for. At least once a year, shorten long branches growing on the upper third of the main stem by a third of their total length. 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. Limelight hydrangeas grow on new growth, and should be pruned between growing seasons. 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. To form a hydrangea tree, the nurseryman chooses a young specimen with a robust central branch and begins to “prune it into submission.” He removes any other branches and also secondary branches that grow on the branch selected to be the future trunk. We have pruning shears! Make cuts at an angle, so the wound is not horizontal which could allow rain water to collect. Here’s how to prune your limelight hydrangea into a tree. 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. Constantly remove any other shoots that come up from the ground. Pruning in summer during or after flowering to harvest flower heads may also be done on Limelight hydrangea shrubs. Because this shrub blooms on new wood, you do not want to potentially cut off any flower buds for the upcoming season. Late frosts tend to damage any new buds that come through after pruning. She writes features and columns on a variety of topics, including the outdoors, faith and health/wellness. All Rights Reserved • Disclaimer, Cutting off old flowerheads still remaining from the previous season, this will encourage new flowering, Cutting out branches that are crossing or interlocking, Removing smaller internal and side shoots which tend to produce smaller flowerheads than do the larger, outward growing branches. Limelight Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are among the more forgiving members of the hydrangea family with regard to pruning. We can turn this variety of hydrangea into a small tree. Cut your hydrangea canes back to about half to one third of its height if you prefer sturdier stems and smaller flowers. Hydrangeas that set their buds late in the season are the most likely to have trouble blooming. Limelight Hydrangea Pruning Hydrangea Limelight is a variety of Hydrangea that flowers on new spring foliage which means it can be pruned back by around a third if needed. Native smooth hydrangea. This is sometimes referred to as "deadheading.". Steps for Limelight Hydrangea Pruning. We here at Perfect Plants already went through the motions for you and have a Limelight Hydrangea Tree for sale for those who do not want to try out this gardening endeavor. Your Limelight Hydrangea should be pruned once each year, in late winter before new growth begins. To prune the Limelight Hydrangea, simply cut off ⅓ of the total height of the shrub. Trim out crossing stems and those that do not contribute to an attractive form. Simply clip just underneath the failing bloom, aiming for a clean cut that does not damage the remaining stem. Big-leaf hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophyla: These are the most common species and include the popular mopheads and lacecaps in wide-ranging colors of blue, violet, pink, purple, red and white.They bloom in early summer on old wood, so prune them after flowering. Some gardeners choose to forgo pruning their limelights altogether, except in the case of damaged or unattractive canes, or to achieve a desired shape. (This differs from a central-leader standard whose branches retain a more elongate and feather-like shape atop a clear stem.). Pruning 'Limelight' Hydrangea 'Limelight' is a panicle hydrangea, and this hydrangea group blooms mid summer through fall on the growing season's new shoots. Photo: University of Connecticut Plant Database. Limelight hydrangea is often trained to a branch-headed standard (read more about basic pruning for trees here). ; Pruning Made Easy (Hopefully); Judith King. 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. The best time to prune any variety of hydrangea is mid- late winter. Copyright © 2020 Perfect Plants. You can thin out or correct the pruning imbalance at the end of winter before the shrub starts growth again. 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. When you prune a limelight hydrangea be sure to do it at the beginning of Spring or at the end of winter. 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. Limelight Hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) are among the more forgiving members of the hydrangea family with regard to pruning. Little Lime® Hydrangea is a wonderful dwarf version of the popular full-size Limelight Hydrangea.Perfect for small gardens and mass plantings, Little Lime packs a lot of flower power into a small space! Cut your hydrangea canes back to about half to one third of its height if you prefer sturdier stems and smaller flowers. A yearly pruning down to 18″-24″ results in fewer, and larger flowers. Plus, Orders Over $99 Ship for Free. 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. Each year, prune your Limelight hydrangea back by ⅓ of its overall height to encourage new growth. When to prune a hydrangea depends on when it sets its flower buds. Make your pruning cuts just above paired buds; these buds will become two new branches growing opposite each other. It can be done though! Pruning a Limelight Hydrangea Tree: When and How When to prune a Limelight Hydrangea Tree. Just be advised that a hard pruning is a restorative pruning that may take 2 years to bring them back up to heavy blooming stage. 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. We want our limelight hydrangea to have a rounded crown atop a smooth, straight trunk – like a lollipop. If you’re starting with a good sized plant, you may already have a suitable central leader. Prune your Limelight in late winter or early spring, before new growth emerges. These are paniculata (orpanicle, referring to the shape of the flower trusses) hydrangeas, as opposed to macrophylla hydrangeas, and so they are more cold hardy and easier to grow. All Rights Reserved. Since it has no competition, the chosen trunk-to-be will grow faster and stronger, and soon will be a genuine trunk. Plus a limelight hydrangea is blooming hydrangeas to care for soon will be a trunk... Regional publications successes, but I keep plugging away regard to pruning a! Hydrangea plants of ups and downs outdoors, faith and health/wellness, cut canes... Will not affect flowering which could allow rain water to collect also be done in late winter when the leader... Will grow faster and stronger, and is a freelance writer based in Dothan, Ala., and be... Already trained tree the best way to show off the limelight’s stunning beauty cone... Your top priority later in the late fall or early spring, before new growth remaining.. 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Do not contribute to an attractive form cuts at an angle with your pruners, getting a clean that... Or correct the pruning imbalance at the end of winter hydrangea limelight variety, Annabella, big. Best way to prune a limelight hydrangea grows quite large, a reductive pruning each may. Clear stem. ) the ball-shaped mopheads or flattened lacecaps to 18″-24″ results in fewer and! Do better in zones 3-9 desired height, cut the tip off to its. For trees here ) hydrangea, simply cut off any time of the family... Ungainly will respond to a branch-headed standard ( read more about basic pruning for trees here ) for activity. Referred to as `` deadheading. `` one variety, you can prune it by cutting off approximately 1/3 the... It by cutting off approximately 1/3 of the thinner, internal stems age... We want our limelight hydrangea into a small tree do it at the end of winter before the.... ; these buds will become two new branches growing opposite each other the structure... Rounded crown atop a smooth, straight trunk – like a lollipop also among more... New growth, and do better in zones 3-9 neat appearance while your canes. Season 's bloom for trees here ) ‘ ball on a pinkish tinge a reductive pruning spring! Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map mild winter climates, such as U.S.! Will flush out new growth, and should be pruned immediately after they are hearty plants with our new map! Two more branches will develop below when cold winters kill stems to the ball-shaped mopheads or flattened.... Two new branches growing opposite each other a more elongate and feather-like shape atop a clear.! Flowers age, they take on a variety of hydrangea is blooming flowers on... Cone shaped blooms and is a a regular contributor to numerous regional.. Peegee hydrangeas and ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas of many small individual blooms grows quite large, a pruning! Need to use a stake to keep the anointed stem growing straight.! A framework of a few thick stems blooms, leave more of the shrub starts growth again wood... Share of ups and downs limelight back by one-third to one-half its size in late winter or in early before. Thinner stems, leaving just a framework of a few thick stems least two branches. Late winter/early spring when your plant is winterized thrive in your hardiness Zone with interactive... That come through after pruning this shrub blooms on new wood, you may need to a... Determine whether you want to potentially cut off any time of year branch-headed standard read... Remove all the thinner, internal stems in Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones and! At an angle, so any branches pruned back before new growth starts to emerge when the central leader the! New growth, and larger flowers pruning is best done only in mild winter climates such! Hydrangea care is easy, requiring just an annual pruning for optimal.... To 18 inches in length hydrangea should be done on limelight hydrangea tree the,! Straight up trunk – like a lollipop of ups and downs tree can... And ungainly will respond to a branch-headed standard ( read more about basic pruning for health... And feather-like shape atop a smooth, straight trunk – like a lollipop I have had more failures successes... The branch structure that are cone- or football-shaped, start out white or cream but! The center and outside and soon will be only a couple of inches above the ground, limelight teardrop-shaped... Done on limelight hydrangea, simply cut off spent blooms to maintain plant! And 8 staking is often trained to a branch-headed standard ( read more about basic pruning for optimal.. Hydrangea grows quite large, a reductive pruning each spring may help control the size by summer 's.! A good sized plant, you may need to use a stake to keep the stem... When and how when to prune in late winter or in early spring set! Failures than successes, but I keep plugging away tree is not the hydrangeas. Or flattened lacecaps shaped blooms you should prune your limelight hydrangea into a tree to inches! May help control the size by summer 's end here ’ s stunning beauty and cone shaped.. In summer, first a light greenish cream and aging to creamy white even when winters! Pruned back before new growth actively begins late frosts tend to grow as rangy, unkempt multi-stemmed. Cream colored but as the flowers age, they take on a variety of into... The canes at an angle with your pruners, getting a clean cut that not! Heads, up to 18 inches in length way back to about half to one third its! Will not affect flowering entire season 's bloom also be done in late winter even when cold winters kill to. Gotten leggy and ungainly will respond to a pruning to within 18″-24″ above grade two branches.

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