Limelight Hydrangea Gets a Refresh with the New Limelight Prime

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Virtues: Limelight Prime is a follow-up to ‘Limelight’, a panicle hydrangea beloved for its green flowers. Limelight Prime is touted as an improvement because it has a more compact habit, it begins to bloom weeks earlier, its strong stems won’t flop and its flowers’ colors are more intense. Limelight Prime is about two-thirds the size of 'Limelight'.

Limelight Prime grows four to six feet tall, while 'Limelight' can reach eight feet tall.

Limelight Prime grows four to six feet tall, while 'Limelight' can reach eight feet tall.

Common name: Limelight Prime panicle hydrangea

Botanical name: Hydrangea paniculata 'Smnhpph' (Limelight Prime)

Exposure: Full sun to part shade.

Flowers: Green flowers begin in midsummer and hold their color until the weather turns cooler toward autumn. Then they take on a range of pink shades, from pale pink to warm magenta.

The flowers take on impressive pink shades as they age.

The flowers take on impressive pink shades as they age.

Foliage: The deciduous leaves are a dark green color throughout summer. Fall color is unremarkable. Shaped like a long, broad oval, the leaves give this shrub a coarse texture. 

Habit: This hydrangea reaches 4 to 6 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide. (For comparison, 'Limelight' stands 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.)

Origin: Hydrangea paniculata is native to Asia. Limelight Prime is a cultivar introduced in 2021 by Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs.

How to grow it: Limelight Prime shares the same requirements as any panicle hydrangea. Provide full to part sun and soil that drains well. More sun will result in clearer color on the aging flowers. Make sure that this shrub gets about an inch of water (rain plus irrigation, if needed) during its first growing season in the garden. After that, it can cope with less water, but this might effect the bloom; for the heaviest flowering, provide water through times of drought. Avoid fertilizing as this can lead to rapid, lanky growth. If pruning is desired, do so in early spring. (Panicle hydrangeas form their flower buds on the year's new growth, so pruning at that time will not remove the buds.) USDA Zones 3–8.

Images courtesy of Proven Winners