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Hydrangea Paniculata ‘Limelight’

This large, graceful, deciduous shrub from China and Japan can grow up to 2.5m high with a spread of around 1.5m. In the late summer and early autumn, conical flower-spikes, 15-30 cm tall, develop in a pale green, morphing into cream and then pinkish hues as they age. I’ve seen some splendid specimens in various walled gardens in Venice where they compliment both a traditional Mediterranean design and a more dramatic fusion of tropical planting.

Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’ is a very refined alternative to the more ubiquitous and dare I say it, blousy, mop-headed Hydrangeas. Those ones are fun, but their nuclear-neon blooms do rather yell at you. Plant this one to bring a striking and distinguished touch to your garden, with vivid yellow-green foliage held along pink-tinged stems. We’re not often a fan of many common names but ‘Limelight’ does deserve its moniker and has great long-season interest in the garden, flowering generously from June to November.

Its form is large but elegant and it looks great spilling voluptuously from the back of a border to the front. Give it space: you can forgive it for reaching slightly too far, it’s just being generous. A fine specimen as a focal point, and fantastic against a deep green backdrop of evergreen hedging.

An unfussy plant that is happy in most moist but well drained soils and any aspect in sun to dappled shade. It flowers on current year’s wood so prune in late winter to early spring.

N.B. When clipping several plants with the same tool, have a bucket containing a 5% bleach solution and swish your blades around for 30 seconds between plants to sterilise them. This will help avoid the chance of cross contamination of disease.