Little Lime hydrangea

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The Little Lime Hydrangea is an increasingly-popular flowering shrub for the garden, and it’s easy to see why!

Little Lime Hydrangeas are a compact variety of panicle hydrangea known for their beautiful flowers. Little Lime is a dwarf cultivar of the ever-popular Limelight Hydrangea. These shrubs grow in full sun to partial shade, reaching 3-5 feet tall and wide at maturity. They bloom from late spring to early fall and have white and green oval-shaped flowers that turn pink as the weather cools.

Now that you know a few facts about the Little Lime Hydrangea, you are likely wondering where you should plant them if they need to be pruned, and if they are easy to take care of. Keep reading to find out.

Little lime hydrangea

Little Lime Hydrangea: The Basics

The Little Lime Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Jane’) is a low-maintenance hydrangea variety that grows to a comfortable size of only 3′-5′ tall and wide. Little Lime has the same green-white-pink-hued flowers as the full-size Limelight Hydrangea that it was bred from. Little Lime Hydrangeas are also just as cold-hardy and can be grown in Zones 3-9.

Little Lime Hydrangeas have green-colored flowers that change from dark green to pink and white as the weather changes and the temperature gets colder. Little Lime Hydrangeas are one of the types of hydrangeas where the flower color is not influenced by the soil pH. The color simply changes with the change of the seasons. The flower petals are semi-oval-shaped, and the flowers grow in bunches that look similar to other types of hydrangeas. The edges of the flower petals are slightly pointed.

The Little Lime Hydrangea is a type of flowering deciduous shrub called a Panicle Hydrangea that is originally from China and Japan. It grows up and slightly out, but it doesn’t grow to be very tall when it is compared to other similar types of hydrangeas. (Source)

Little lime hydrangea

Planting Little Lime Hydrangea

Little Lime Hydrangeas need to be planted in soil that drains well and is somewhat fertile. Plant it in an area that gets partial shade to full sun if possible. Full sun is preferable in cooler areas (Zones 3-6) while afternoon shade may be beneficial in warmer areas (Zones 7-9). Plant your Little Lime Hydrangeas about 4-5 feet apart so they don’t touch each other when they are fully grown, or place them more like 3 feet apart for a denser hedge look.

Plant your Little Lime Hydrangeas in the early spring or fall so they have time to establish roots before the growing season starts and before winter starts and the ground starts to freeze over. Don’t plant your Little Lime Hydrangeas when temperatures are over 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and try to plant them in the morning or early evening when temperatures are slightly cooler. Water the plants deeply as soon as possible after planting.

Hedge of little lime hydrangea flowers along fence

Sunlight Requirements For Little Lime Hydrangea

Little Lime Hydrangeas thrive when they are in an area with full sun to partial shade. If you live in an area where there are regularly high temperatures, plant your Little Lime Hydrangea in a slightly shady spot (or be prepared to water quite regularly in hot summer weather). Although Little Lime Hydrangeas can tolerate being exposed to a lot of sunlight, they do better when they have some shade, especially when the climate of the area is quite warm for most of the year.

If you plant your Little Lime Hydrangea in an area with a lot of shade, it will likely still grow, especially if there are warning temperatures where you live. However, if you plant your Little Lime Hydrangea in a shady area, don’t water it too frequently as always-moist soil will it more susceptible to disease. These hydrangeas also will not flower as much when grown in partial shade due to the lower levels of light available for plant photosynthesis.

Little lime hydrangea in fall

Watering Little Lime Hydrangea

Little Lime Hydrangeas need to be watered regularly so the soil is consistently moist with limited dry periods. During the first year after planting, take care to water the shrub often (at least once a week unless the weather is very rainy). While watering, check to make sure that the soil is draining out the excess water well. If you see many leaves that are yellow and wilting, then you may need to water your hydrangea more frequently.

If you want to protect your Little Lime Hydrangea from high heat and want to avoid watering it too frequently, place a layer of organic mulch over the soil around your hydrangea. The mulch will keep water in the soil that the Little Lime Hydrangea can use to grow and thrive. Just keep the moist mulch from touching the stem base of the hydrangea.

Fertilizing Little Lime Hydrangea

You should add fertilizer to your Little Lime Hydrangea early on in the spring season before it starts growing. It is recommended that you use a controlled-release fertilizer so your Little Lime Hydrangea will receive a steady stream of extra nutrients throughout the growing season. You can also add some liquid feed if you want to, but it isn’t typically necessary. Instead, add a granular organic fertilizer to the soil surrounding your Little Lime Hydrangea, as this is one of the best types of fertilizers for your hydrangea plant.

Pruning Little Lime Hydrangea

Little Lime Hydrangeas should be pruned in early before the growing season begins. Blooms only form on newly-grown wood (not on overwintered wood). Pruning makes space for the new stems to grow and form their flower buds in the spring.

Prune your Little Lime Hydrangea in early March if possible. Make sure to do it before spring really begins and the growing season starts. If you prune your Little Lime Hydrangea, you will promote new growth, which will ensure that it is beautiful when the blooms form on the branches of the hydrangea.

However, you likely won’t have to prune your Little Lime Hydrangea for the first two years after you plant it because the roots are still being established, and growth will be slightly hindered.

If your Little Lime Hydrangea plant is really old, then you should definitely prune it, especially if you want it to grow to be very large.

When you prune our Little Lime Hydrangea, start by removing any branches or stems that have been damaged, affected by disease, or have died during the winter. It’s typically easiest to remove these branches right down to the base of the plant to create an open structure for good airflow. Then remove any branches that are growing sideways, especially if they are interfering with another plant or rubbing on another stem of the hydrangea. Make sure all branches are pointed upwards/outwards.

When you prune your Little Lime Hydrangea, remove about one-third of the height of the entire plant. For example, if your Little Lime Hydrangea plant is 3 feet tall, remove 1 foot of the old branches.

Read more about Little LIme Hydrangea Care.

Hedge of little lime panicle hydrangeas in bloom - early fall

Pests And Diseases Affecting Little Lime Hydrangeas

Although Little Lime Hydrangeas are relatively disease and pest resistant, they are susceptible to the following diseases and pests:

  • Bud Blight
  • Bacterial Wilt
  • Leaf Spot
  • Leaf Rust
  • Mildew
  • Aphids
  • Mites
  • Whiteflies
  • Scale Bugs

Luckily, it is relatively easy for you to rid your Little Lime Hydrangea of pest bugs. If your Little Lime Hydrangea has a pest problem, use a gentle organic pesticide, neem oil, or insecticidal soap. The plant may have to be treated weekly to eradicate the pests (follow the instructions on the product you choose).

Unfortunately, it is not as easy to get rid of plant diseases that have infected your Little Lime Hydrangea. If your hydrangea has a fungal infection, spray it with a fungicide according to the directions that are on the bottle. Then, prune away any infected stems and branches, and your Little Lime Hydrangea should bounce back and start thriving again when the growing season begins again.

Little lime hydrangea shrub

Is Little Lime Hydrangea Easy To Care For?

Little Lime Hydrangeas are very easy to care for. They aren’t picky when it comes to soil, and they can be moved easily when you first plant them in your garden. They are also easy to care for because they can withstand nearly any climate, so they won’t die during the cold winter months. The Little Lime Hydrangea is considered to be one of the most durable species of hydrangeas that are available today.

Little Lime Hydrangeas are a great type of hydrangea for any beginning gardener because they are so easy to take care of. You can put them nearly anywhere in your garden, and they will grow and thrive as long as they get enough water.

Although Little Lime Hydrangeas do grow best if pruned, you only need to prune them once a year. Then you get to enjoy the beauty that they provide throughout the summer and early fall. And, for the first two years after your Little Lime Hydrangea is planted, you don’t need to prune it. Even older shrubs can be left alone, although they do become crowded with branches and develop an overgrown shape with poor air circulation.

Reasons To Choose Little Lime Hydreagea

You should definitely get a Little Lime Hydrangea if you’re looking for a small hydrangea because they are smaller than most other types of hydrangeas. They also change color throughout the summer and fall seasons without you having to do anything. With other types of hydrangeas, you have to change the soil in order to change the color of the hydrangea flowers.

You should also purchase a Little Lime Hydrangea because they are easy to take care of. Not many diseases often affect them, and they are quite resistant to pests, so you won’t often have to spray a pesticide on your Little Lime Hydrangea plant.

You should purchase a Little Lime Hydrangea plant because of how durable they are. Even if you are an inexperienced gardener, you won’t be able to kill it easily. You can purchase this commonly-available variety at most gardening or hardware stores or online.

Growing Little Lime Hydrangea in a pot

Little Lime is one of the better variety choices for container growing. Hydrangeas grown in containers should be planted in a rich soil mix that’s about half store-bought potting soil. While most container mixes for potted plants are soil-less, this is a big enough plant in a big enough pot that it makes sense to add a little real soil in there. You could grow this in a large 15+ gallon pot or a wine barrel.

Water the potted shrub frequently – whenever the top 2 inches of soil dries out. Try not to let the entire pot dry out, as this can stress the plant and make the soil more difficult to rehydrate. Use an automated drip line if possible. An inch or two of composted organic mulch on the surface can help keep moisture in.

Potted shrubs are more susceptible to winter damage than the same shrub growing in the ground at the same location. The roots are above ground and exposed to temperature swings. The best way to protect your potted shrubs outdoors in the winter is to put them all together and pack mulch around the base so that the roots are artificially “buried”.

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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a Master Gardener and founder of the gardening website Home for the Harvest. She has been featured by Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, and the National Garden Bureau. Mary Jane lives with her family in the Okanagan Valley.