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How to Prune Limelight Hydrangeas

By Tracy Morris ; Updated September 21, 2017
Unlike bigleaf or oakleaf hydrangeas, Limelight produces flowers that start out white-chartruse and end up lime in color.

Limelight hydrangeas are a cultivar with a longer blooming season than most hydrangea plants. Limelights differ from bigleaf and oakleaf hydrangeas in that they have smaller leaves and larger blossoms. The blossoms start out as a white-chartreuse and change to a lime-green throughout the bloom season. The shrub is hardy from zones 3 through 9 and grows up to 8 feet tall. Pruning should be done with an eye toward the size of blossom and shrub that you want.

Time pruning for late fall or early spring. Limelight hydrangeas grow on new growth, and should be pruned between growing seasons.

Determine whether you want smaller, more numerous blooms or larger, fewer blooms. The more you prune, the fewer blooms you will have. But the larger these blooms will be.

Sharpen your pruning shears before you prune a Limelight hydrangea. This will prevent injury to the plant and help it to recover faster.

Mix a solution of nine parts bleach and one part water. Saturate a cloth with this solution and wipe the blades of your shears with the solution between pruning Limelight hydrangeas to prevent the spread of disease.

Remove any dead, diseased or broken stems.

Remove 1/3 of the oldest plant stems at ground level once the plant turns 4 years old.

Cut back the top 1/3 to 1/2 of the remaining stems just above a healthy bud. This process is called heading back.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Sharpeners
  • Bleach
  • Clean cloth

About the Author


Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.