Panicle Hydrangea, Tree Hydrangea 'Limelight'

Hydrangea paniculata

Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hydrangea (hy-DRAIN-juh) (Info)
Species: paniculata (pan-ick-yoo-LAY-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Limelight
Additional cultivar information:(PP12874)
Hybridized by Zwijnenburg
Registered or introduced: 2001
» View all varieties of Hydrangeas
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6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Pale Green

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Anniston, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Wetumpka, Alabama

Judsonia, Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas

Susanville, California

Littleton, Colorado

Marietta, Georgia

Norcross, Georgia

Ashkum, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Crystal Lake, Illinois

Litchfield, Illinois

Plainfield, Illinois

Saint Charles, Illinois

Westmont, Illinois

South Amana, Iowa

West Des Moines, Iowa

Narka, Kansas

Louisville, Kentucky

Russell, Kentucky

Folsom, Louisiana

Cockeysville, Maryland

Frederick, Maryland

Silver Spring, Maryland

Mashpee, Massachusetts

Middleton, Massachusetts

Norton, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Hillsdale, Michigan

Holland, Michigan

Laingsburg, Michigan

Oxford, Michigan

Spring Lake, Michigan

Trout Creek, Michigan

Longville, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Wyoming, Minnesota

Madison, Mississippi

Natchez, Mississippi

Seminary, Mississippi

Carson City, Nevada

Manchester, New Hampshire

Bedminster, New Jersey

Mays Landing, New Jersey

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Bayside, New York

Clinton Corners, New York

Colden, New York

Croton On Hudson, New York

Elba, New York

Indian Lake, New York

New York City, New York

Rochester, New York (2 reports)

Southold, New York

Candler, North Carolina

Greenville, North Carolina

Morehead City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Pekin, North Dakota

Cincinnati, Ohio

Defiance, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Streetsboro, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Eugene, Oregon

Morrisville, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Sarver, Pennsylvania

Bristol, Rhode Island

Lincoln, Rhode Island

North Smithfield, Rhode Island

Bluffton, South Carolina

Chapin, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Lamar, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Pickens, South Carolina

Pierre, South Dakota

Knoxville, Tennessee (2 reports)

Lancing, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

Sweetwater, Tennessee

Quitman, Texas

Middlebury, Vermont

Alexandria, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia

Charlottesville, Virginia

Clarksville, Virginia

Disputanta, Virginia

Linden, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia (2 reports)

Urbanna, Virginia

Buckley, Washington

Lake Forest Park, Washington

Seattle, Washington

Medford, Wisconsin

Menasha, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 5, 2016, anghave from Narka, KS wrote:

I planted four Limelights three years ago, zone 5b in north central Kansas. They've taken some time to establish themselves, but this year they took off and are blooming beautifully--the bright white of their blooms in full summer is truly eye-catching. I look forward to the dusky rose shade they will turn later this fall. All four are in full sunlight, and all have shown good heat tolerance in 100-degree days during July. My big-leaf hydrangeas droop and don't look very happy in the heat, but Limelights are troopers! I mulch them with prairie hay for the winter, but even if I didn't, I believe they would easily survive our zero and below temps during January and February.


On Aug 19, 2015, Rickwebb from Downingtown, PA wrote:

This cultivar is relatively new on the market and is very popular in southeast PA and many other regions. My negativity towards this is that I find it to be gaudy. I am not a fan of any shrub or perennial that bears huge flower clusters, usually causing the plant stems to bend over, and I would rather have the natural form of the inflorescence that has both sterile and fertile flowers, not all sterile. I much prefer the older cultivar of 'Tardiva.'


On Jun 9, 2015, SpringwoodGrdns from Penn Hills, PA wrote:

I have both a mature shrub and tree. Both are absolute showstoppers in August, producing flower heads as large as human heads! The coloration of the blooms is so bright that theh brighten up even sunny areas. I can't say enough about how cool this plant is and what it can do. Eventually I might have one in every bed (2 out of 7 right now).

For me, growth rate is medium, about 24-36" in a single season.


On Apr 6, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is the most popular cultivar of H. paniculata, a tough, easy, vigorous, fast-growing, adaptable species. Like the species, it has much better winter hardiness than bigleaf hydrangeas, and it blooms reliably on new wood in summer.

Hardy to Z3. Here in Z6a I never see winter dieback.

Flower panicles are huge and last for months. Lime green in the beginning, they slowly age to white, and then develop increasing pink tints into the fall as they age. They make great, long-lasting cut flowers, and also dry well.

This is an incredibly vigorous plant. It can be heavily pruned in late fall or early spring, and it will respond with long new stems bearing flowers on their ends. I recommend allowing new wood to build from one year to the next---the lo... read more


On Jul 25, 2014, deb02 from Rochester, NY wrote:

I purchased this tree late last summer- it was in full bloom and was beautiful- this year, however, nothing has bloomed- the tree is full of leaves, but no white or green blooms like last year- Is this unusual for this tree at this time of year? I live in Rochester, NY


On Jun 12, 2012, Noelle216 from Bayside, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I planted a 5' tall grafted, heavily pruned, dormant, tree-form "Limelight" in April 2012. It leafed out immediately and is now forming some flower heads. Mine has a strong trunk which did not require staking. I'm eagerly waiting for the first year's blooms, and will revise this post at a later date.


On Oct 21, 2011, pirl from (Arlene) Southold, NY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easy to propagate from layering.


On Sep 26, 2010, midwest6708 from Saint Louis, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

Planted this March while still dormant, this was my Limelight's first season. It was entrancing from the start... First, the chartreuse leaves of spring distinguished themselves nicely in the afternoon shade against the chocolate brown brick of the house, where darker leaves go completely unnoticed from the street. Then as the blooms unfolded, their refreshing celery-green color accented the light green foliage beautifully as they aged toward pure white at the height of summer. Now, at the end of season, the foliage is darker green and the flowers' greenish undertone has re-emerged, but now is blushed with dusky rose.

It being my first hydrangea ever, I am surprised at how healthy the leaves look this late in the season. Expected them to be ratty and stressed from the re... read more


On Apr 22, 2010, katrun from Alexandria, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Nice plant. I had to moved it to more sun because it was not doing to well in the shade for me. I planted it in full sun and it has done well.
I took several cuttings last year and had great success . Easy to grow just like any other hydrangea, The color is not that impressive, but its nice to have and I love it.


On Apr 6, 2010, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I work part time in a local nursery that has served several generations of excellent gardeners. Since its first year of introduction, this plant has sold out very quickly. Quite often we have a "run" on new plants that gradually slows to a walk. However, Limelight may be a marathon runner for two reasons: Like the oak leaf hydrangea, which is very popular here and has a wild "cousin" in our backwoods, Limelight is not affected by the frequent late freezes that send mop head lovers running for cover. My understanding is it is also "fool proof". In a state with frequent strong winds and heavy rain, pruning it to establish strong branch structure is probably a wise move. I just planted mine last year and am already impressed with the growth. Can't wait to see the blooms!


On Aug 22, 2006, revere51 from Middleton, MA wrote:

Had great success this being the second yr...been supplying the neighbors with flowers.


On Aug 18, 2006, soulbloom from Richmond, VA wrote:

Ehhhh! That pretty much sums up this plant. Though it doesn't stand out, it won't go unnoticed in the garden. I would describe mine as pretty much average.


On Nov 26, 2005, bigcityal from Menasha, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very nice form and color, easy to grow - why wouldn't you own one?


On Oct 17, 2005, zzazzq from Madison, MS wrote:

Has bloomed here in central MS in partial shade. Have trouble with the regular peegee, but this one does bloom here. Very light green to white flowers.


On Aug 28, 2005, pavulon from Medford, WI wrote:

does well despite our cold winters


On Jul 29, 2005, alicewho from North Augusta, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

This hydrangea didn't come out as green as I had hoped, but the blooms are huge and plentiful. Fast grower and so far disease and pest free. It really stands out in the garden.


On Apr 15, 2005, bonniewong from edmonton,
Canada wrote:

I purchased Limelight spring 2004,and am really impressed. It bloomed all summer in my zone 3 garden, the color was the most beautiful shade of light green.We had exceptionally hot weather with the most awful aphid epidemic and very few predators. It was so healthy, it didn't skip a beat, the foliage and flowers were unscathed. The buds are just starting to swell now mid April 2005, it survived -37C with little winter kill. By far the best hydrangea I have.


On Dec 4, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Information from both "Hydrangeas for American Gardens," by Michael A. Dirr (2004) and "Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas" C.J. and D.M. Van Gelderen (2004 - Timber Press)

Well branched, medium sized shrub 6 - 10 feet, with 8 being the average, and 5 to 8 feet wide. The flowers carry only sterile ray-flowers and the panicles are almost as big as those of 'Grandiflora', but LIMELIGHT turns more to pink than does 'Grandiflora' according to Van Gelderen.

Professor Dirr notes that in zone 7, color showed an expression more towards white in this cultivar, possibly due to heat.

AKA 'Zwijnenburg' and trademarked name is LIMELIGHT. Bred by Pieter Zwijnenburg, Boskoop, Netherlands, in 1990.


On Nov 3, 2004, DreamOfSpring from Charleston, SC (Zone 9a) wrote:

In my Zone 8b garden, the color ranges from faded green to off-white. The color is not as bright as I had hoped. However, on the plus side, I planted a 10" high specimen and in 1 year it had soared to 6 ft high and spread to 5 ft wide with over a dozen blooms each literally 10" x 10"! It has out-grown and out-produced all of my hydrangeas.


On Jul 10, 2004, Dea from Frederick, MD (Zone 6a) wrote:

The blooms are lime in color and then soften to an off-white/white as they progress.