Oscar and I have ridden up to Huntsville several times recently, and I have been amazed at the number of Limelight hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata “Limelight”) that are growing in private and commercial landscapes along the route.

Individual homeowners, as well as the City of Guntersville, have done a beautiful job of landscaping. In addition, each year I notice more and more Limelight hydrangeas growing in the Attalla/Gadsden area.

I fell in love with the Limelight hydrangea several years ago — not only because the plant produces such lovely, long, greenish-white panicles that stand up straight, not drooping like most hydrangea blossoms, but because maintaining the shrub is quite easy.

In this area, Limelight hydrangeas produce blooms in July and August. We have six of the beautiful shrubs in our landscape that began forming panicles in early July. If the plant receives water on a regular basis, the blooms will remain beautiful until fall.

This shrub may grow up to 8 feet in height and width, is drought tolerant, grows in almost any type of soil and prefers sun to partial sun. Regardless of the soil pH, the flowers maintain their beautiful, whitish-green color until fall.

Limelight hydrangeas bloom on new wood and are deciduous, which means that the plants drop leaves during the winter and begin developing new foliage in the spring. The Limelight hydrangea works well as a specimen plant, standing alone or in a grouping of several shrubs.

The shrub benefits from heavy pruning every few years. Pruning should be performed in late winter, because pruning after new growth appears will remove the new flower buds and prevent that portion of the plant from producing flowers.

After pruning, water the hydrangea to a depth of 4 inches. After the soil warms to about 68 degrees, feed the plant with a 5-10-5 formula fertilizer. Remember, feeding too early may produce weak spindly growth.

Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to clink43@bellsouth.net.