Picture of hydrangea tree

Flowering hydrangeas are a telltale sign of summer. Nothing beats the beautiful sight of blooming hydrangeas in a variety of colors. The white, blue, pink or purple flowers paired with bright green foliage look gorgeous in every summer garden.

While we’re typically used to seeing low growing hydrangea bushes, how great would it be to see hydrangeas on trees? Well, the good news is, you can! Here is how you can grow a hydrangea tree.

Choosing the One

Hydrangea paniculata, also known as Grandiflora, produces white conical flowers instead of big spherical blossoms. With some pruning and proper care, it can grow up to 25 feet tall! Grandiflora, known among gardeners as Pee Gee Hydrangea, is your best bet for growing a hydrangea tree.

Planting

Before you plant, set yourself up for success. Check your hardiness zone, as hydrangea trees thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8a. Hydrangeas prefer full sun for most of the day and a bit of afternoon shade, so be sure to choose a generally bright spot.

Hydrangeas typically thrive in rich, porous, moist soil. Enrich the soil with Espoma’s All-Purpose Garden Soil and add Espoma’s Bio-tone Starter Plus to ensure healthy growth. Water thoroughly and if planting multiple trees, be sure to space each hydrangea at least 3 to 10 feet apart.

Pruning

One of the most important parts of growing a hydrangea tree is pruning. The main difference between a hydrangea shrub and a tree is training, pruning and proper care. The ideal time to prune is early spring. Remove old twigs that didn’t produce healthy growths and remove suckers from the trunk of the tree. Keep your tree neat by cutting branches short enough that they each have only two or three nodes (small bumps on the branch that signify growth).

Upkeep

Your hydrangea tree will need a lot of sun, but provide some shade on especially hot summer afternoons. More sun means more water, so keep the soil moist to avoid wilting leaves and blooms. Prune your hydrangea tree in the spring before peak growing season.

If you love your hydrangeas and want to see more than a typical shrub, growing a hydrangea tree sounds like the next step for you!

Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) in bloom

Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 6 feet

Spread: 7 feet

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 4a

Description:

This selection is grafted onto a standard to raise the flowers to eye level, features enormous, dense upright panicles of flower heads that start out a soft lime green, fading over the summer to white and finally brown in fall

Ornamental Features

Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) features bold conical lime green flowers with white overtones at the ends of the branches from mid summer to late fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves do not develop any appreciable fall color. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) is a deciduous dwarf tree, selected and trained to grow in a small tree-like form with the primary plant grafted high atop a standard. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a high maintenance dwarf tree that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) is ideal for use as a garden accent or patio feature, and is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) will grow to be about 6 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 7 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This dwarf tree performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Limelight Hydrangea (tree form) is a fine choice for the yard, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, most plants cannot be expected to survive the winter if left in containers outdoors, and this plant is no exception. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.

Gertens Catalog Sizes and Pricing

Limelight Hydrangea Tree

Product Description

If you really want to add an ‘awe’ factor to your landscape, the Limelight Hydrangea tree is exactly what you need!

The Limelight Hydrangea paniculata in tree form raises its enormous, beautiful creamy white flowers at eye level, making it impossible to miss! The flowers begin a soft lime green, fading into a graceful white in the mid summer with hints of pink, red, and burgundy in fall as the blooms age.

The cone shaped flowers of the panicle hydrangea will stand out amongst others to rounded nature and beautiful colors. Growing hydrangea trees makes a true statement piece in your yard!

The Lime Hydrangea tree features deep, rich green foliage all season long with pointy green leaves. The dark green foliage contrasts the lime green flowers nicely.

This deciduous dwarf tree has a course texture allowing it to stand apart from other shrubs in your landscape. The Limelight plant is an excellent choice for any flower garden, it is easy to grow, and makes excellent cut flower clusters for arrangements or bouquets.

Limelight Hydrangea Tree Care

This white hydrangea tree will reach around 10 feet tall at maturity with a 5 foot wide branch spread. The Limelight Hydrangea growth rate is very rapid. It can grow up to 1-2 feet per year. The large flowering tree will ship at a height of 3-4 feet from the top of the root ball on a sturdy central leader stem as it is already trained to grow as a tree.

The Limelight tree can grow in both partial shade and full sun conditions and prefers moist, well-drained soil types. The perfect planting site is one with morning sun and afternoon shade, bright indirect light is best.

Fertilize with a slow release fertilizer or plant food at the top of the root ball in early spring to jumpstart flowering. Allow soil to dry in between waterings for best results.

Grow this proven winner tree form hydrangea all across North America in department of agriculture plant zones 3-8. It can be grown in almost every United States location.

Pruning Limelight Hydrangea Tree

If you are wondering when to prune the limelight hydrangea to maintain it’s tree form, prune in late winter to early spring when the tree is finished blooming. The tree blooms on new wood.

You do not want to prune flower heads or celadon green flowers on the hydrangea blooms. You only want to prune lower branches and you can shape the tree however you would like.

Looking for the shrub version of this plant? The Limelight Hydrangea bush is equally as beautiful in shrub form.

Contact us if you have any questions about the Limelight Hydrangea tree for sale. We can give you information on shipping details and shipping time.

It makes the perfect small tree for your yard! Check out the Hydrangea Grow Guide for more information on growing and cultivating hydrangeas. Looking to go on a pruning adventure? Check out How to Prune Limelight Hydrangea into a Tree!

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea in bloom

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 8 feet

Spread: 10 feet

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 4a

Other Names: P.G. Hydrangea

Description:

A bold and audacious tree-form shrub that produces endless reams of massive and dense conical flower clusters at the ends of the branches, probably the fullest flower heads of the panicle hydrangeas; long-lasting blooms are white and later turn rosy-red

Ornamental Features

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea features bold conical white flowers at the ends of the branches from mid summer to late fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves do not develop any appreciable fall color. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea is a deciduous dwarf tree, selected and trained to grow in a small tree-like form with the primary plant grafted high atop a standard. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This is a high maintenance dwarf tree that will require regular care and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea is ideal for use as a garden accent or patio feature, and is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea will grow to be about 8 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This dwarf tree performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea is a fine choice for the yard, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

Sizes Available:

4′ Pot., 5′ Pot.

Paniculata Hydrangeas

(PeeGee and Family)

Paniculata hydrangeas will grow and bloom in a wide variety of climates (hardy from USDA growing zones 3 to 7!). Unlike mopheads, they need several hours of sun to do well. If your weather is too cold to grow the pink and blue hydrangeas or if your landscape doesn’t have much shade, consider growing one of the many types of paniculatas. North or south, we can all enjoy them.

A desirable trait of all paniculatas is their tolerance for pruning. One can prune them at any time except when they begin forming bloom heads in the summer. The paniculata is the ONLY hydrangea that can be pruned into a tree form.

Paniculatas often get very large. 8-10 feet tall and wide is not unusual. Some get even taller.

A beautiful paniculata, and one of the most popular is ‘Limelight’ which can be grown in all parts of the United States except those areas which receive no freezing weather.

Hydrangea Paniculata Care

Unlike other hydrangeas, paniculatas may be grown in full sun if they receive adequate moisture. However, they prefer a little shade during the hottest part of the afternoon in the deep south, especially if conditions are on the dry side.

Paniculata hydrangeas are the only type of hydrangea you can prune into a beautiful tree. Many paniculatas are sold already pruned to a tree shape and others can be pruned to this shape.

Paniculatas can be pruned (see Method II) at ANY time other than immediately before they are to bloom. Check out our complete hydrangea care guide for more information.

Photos to Identify Your Paniculata (PG) Hydrangea

If you are trying to identify a hydrangea that might be a paniculata, look closely at these pictures. They were sent to us by Greg and Beth from Washington state.

The pink on the blooms don’t appear when the blooms first open, but emerge as the blooms age.

Note the size of the leaf and the serration (tooth) of the leaf edge. This leaf is smaller, softer, and less shiny than the mophead (macrophylla) leaf.

The name “paniculata” comes from the fact that many of the blooms are panicle-shaped (somewhat cone shaped) rather than ball-shaped. Many paniculata blooms develop a lovely pink shade as the blooms age, extending their beauty into the fall.

Panicle Hydrangea Varieties

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Bobo® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Fire Light® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Limelight Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Little Lamb Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Little Lime® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Little Quick Fire® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Pinky Winky® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Quick Fire® Hydrangea

  • Growing Zones: 3-8

    Zinfin Doll® Hydrangea

Other Varieties of Hydrangea Paniculata

There are many varieties and forms of H. paniculata such as ‘Limelight’ and ‘Tardiva’. Limelight is an especially beautiful paniculata and is also one of the most popular. ‘Limelight’ can be grown in all parts of the United States except those areas which receive no freezing weather.

We welcome any pictures you may have – especially those of new hydrangea varieties.

Other Paniculata Hydrangea Varieties

‘Tardiva’

True Unique’

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea in bloom

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 7 feet

Spread: 4 feet

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 3b

Other Names: P.G. Hydrangea

Description:

This shrub, pruned into a tree form, produces large dense conical flower clusters at the ends of the branches; long-lasting blooms are white and later turn rosy-red. Regular pruning recommended to maintain tree form.

Ornamental Features

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea features bold conical white flowers at the ends of the branches from mid summer to late fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves do not develop any appreciable fall colour. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea is a deciduous dwarf tree, selected and trained to grow in a small tree-like form with the primary plant grafted high atop a standard. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other landscape plants with finer foliage.

This dwarf tree will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and is best pruned in late winter once the threat of extreme cold has passed. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea is ideal for use as a garden accent or patio feature, and is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • General Garden Use

Planting & Growing

Tree Form Pee Gee Hydrangea will grow to be about 7 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 3 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This dwarf tree performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

What Is A Tree Hydrangea: Learn About Growing Hydrangea Trees

What is a tree hydrangea? It is a type of flowering plant called Hydrangea paniculata that can grow to look like a small tree or large shrub. Tree hydrangeas generally branch fairly low to the ground and often have multiple trunks. If you are interested in growing hydrangea trees, you’ll want to learn all about caring for tree hydrangea plants, including the popular Pee Gee hydrangeas. Read on for tree hydrangea information.

What is a Tree Hydrangea?

Hydrangea is a very popular flowering shrub with many different species. Perhaps the best known is Hydrangea microphylla, offering snowball blossoms that change color depending on the acidity of the soil.

Tree hydrangea is another type of hydrangea. Although there are different cultivars, one of the best known is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora,’ known to its fans as Pee Gee hydrangea. It can grow to 25 feet tall and, with pruning, resembles a small tree.

Tree Hydrangea Information

If you are thinking about growing hydrangea trees, check your hardiness zone. Tree hydrangeas thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8a. Planted appropriately, they can grow to 25 feet high and 20 feet wide.

Tree hydrangea information tells us that the leaves of this plant are dark green and deciduous, meaning that they die in autumn. The leaves can get some 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.
Don’t expect fall displays here; the leaves only get a slight yellow tint before they drop. However, the spectacular flowers make up for the lack of fall color.

The blossoms grow in panicles up to 8 inches long. They appear on the branches as cream-colored flowers, but eventually mature to purple or deep pink. Tree hydrangeas produce a generous amount of flowers. Often, the tree’s spreading branches are dipped toward the ground with the weight of these blossoms.

Caring for Tree Hydrangea Plants

All hydrangea plants need irrigation in the summer, especially if they are planted in a full sun location. If possible, plant them in an area that gets some afternoon shade in climates with hot summers.

Tree hydrangeas, including Pee Gee hydrangeas, tolerate almost any type of soil, including acidic or alkaline, as long as it is well draining. The surface roots are not a problem.

How to Grow and Maintain Limelight Green Hydrangeas

As fall arrives, Limelight blossoms begin to take on shades of pink.

Low-maintenance Limelight needs simple, easy care

Undemanding, easy-care Limelight is a perfect fit for homeowners seeking low-maintenance and beauty. Meet its simple needs and it’ll reward you with attractive foliage and stunning green hydrangea blooms:

  • Site and sun – Limelight’s sunlight and planting site preferences vary with geography. In northern climates, it excels in full-sun settings with eight hours of sun each day. In southern climates, a site with full morning sun and afternoon protection yields the best show of flowers and leaves.
  • Soil – Excellent drainage is crucial to keep Limelight’s roots healthy and free from rot. In areas with heavy clay soils, amend your site before planting. Pennington Fast Acting Gypsum helps loosen compacted soil, improve water penetration and drainage, and correct soil conditions to allow for better root growth. Pennington UltraGreen Plant Starter with Vitamin B1 at planting reduces transplant shock, too.
  • Water – Unlike water-demanding hydrangeas, Limelight tolerates drought once it gets established, but regular watering keeps flowers and leaves at peak. Water thoroughly and deeply when you water, then allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again. Never leave Limelight with overly soggy soil.
  • Fertilizer – A complete fertilizer delivers the essential plant nutrients Limelight needs for healthy growth. At planting time, incorporate a balanced fertilizer such as Pennington UltraGreen All Purpose Plant Food 10-10-10 into your soil. Each spring, feed Limelight with the same fertilizer or try a bloom-enhancing food such as Pennington UltraGreen Color Blooms & Bulbs Plant Food 15-10-10.
  • Pruning – Panicle hydrangeas bloom on new stems that grow each year. Even when cold winters kill stems to the ground, Limelight bounces back with new stems and flowers. Prune Limelight back by one-third to one-half its size in late winter or early spring. This encourages new flower-bearing growth, but leaves a framework of old stems to help support the large lime blooms.

Limelight green hydrangeas in your landscape will fill summer and fall with beautiful blooms for you and your neighbors to enjoy. Pennington is here every step of the way with helpful advice and premium lawn and garden products to help you grow spectacular Limelight hydrangeas and see your #gardengoals become reality.

Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions.

Pennington with design is a registered trademark of Pennington Seed, Inc.

UltraGreen is a registered trademark of Central Garden & Pet Company.

Fast Acting is a trademark of Encap, LLC.

Sources:

1. U.S. Department of Agriculture, “USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.”

Photo Credit:

Jalexartis Photography (CC BY 2.0)

Michele Dorsey Walfred (CC BY 2.0)

Leonora (Ellie) Enking (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What We Have Covered in This Article

Hydrangeas trees are woody deciduous flowering plants. Hydrangea trees are called standard simply because they do not normally grow as tree forms but they have to be trained in order for them to grow as trees. This makes hydrangeas versatile plants as they can be grown as shrubs and as trees also. There are over 100 species and subspecies of hydrangeas trees. Therefore, it is difficult to generalize hydrangeas tree types because their size and flowers differ. Hydrangeas trees bloom into beautiful flowers from the middle to the latter part of summer. In mid-summer, the hydrangea tree tops look like there are filled with snow because of the pure whiteness of the flowers. However, during the latter part of summer the white hydrangea tree plant flowers change from white to vibrant bluish-pink and later on to purplish-pink. These ornamental flowers make a beautiful sight in summer with their vibrant colorful blooming flowers on hydrangeas tree top.

How to grow hydrangea

In order to grow these deciduous flowering plants as trees, first thing first you have to choose the right type of hydrangeas. Not all types can be grown into trees. When you have done so the next step is to train and prune them so that they grow as trees. In order to maintain their form and to keep them growing as trees a great deal of hydrangea tree care and maintenance is required.

  • Choosing the right type of hydrangeas

If you want to grow hydrangeas as trees you have to choose the right species. Hydrangea paniculata is the only kind of hydrangea that can you grow into a hydrangeas trees. The Grandiflora also called the PeeGee hydrangeas is one of the most commonly and popularly grown hydrangea tree. When buying a hydrangea you have the option of buying either a shrub then you prune it by yourself into a tree form or one that is pruned already.

  • Training

Choosing the right hydrangeas simplifies the whole training process of hydrangeas into tree forms. Young hydrangeas with strong, upright form are much easier to train and they can easily conform but it takes a while for them to grow to certain height. With proper care they can grow to a height that ranges from 10-25 feet. The process of training hydrangeas to become trees involves you tying the strongest stem to a stake and pinching 1-inch from the tip. This promotes the hydrangea to grow more branches. When training you have to remove everything below the upper one-fourth of the tree. The only thing that you leave is 3-4 equally spaced shoots. In order for this training to work out you have to re-do the process every spring time before the plants have new growth.

  • Pruning

When growing hydrangeas, pruning is the most significant part. To give hydrangeas a tree form you have keep the trunk bare. The only way you can keep it bare is by pruning it. The way you prune, the time and the rate at which you prune has a significant impact on the plants. Pruning makes hydrangeas look like a small tree. Therefore, lack of pruning will cause the hydrangea to remain as a shrub and not grow as a tree. The perfect time to prune is spring before they start grow new leaves. Pruning them in spring helps them to grow well. To properly prune hydrangeas you start at the base by removing the old shoots. Then you proceed to the branches to remove old twiggy growth. You have to prune the branches in such a way that after pruning they will be looking like an umbrella. When cutting the branches, it is important that you don’t necessarily cut all the branches but you keep at least 5-6 branches at most. On those branches, you have to keep 2-3 nodes on each branch. These nodes are the ones that will later on grow into side shoots which will in turn in summer will form flowers. Please note that cutting the branches too short kills the plants.

Hydrangeas trees care

  • Soil– hydrangeas trees thrive in soil that is moist, highly fertile and well drained. However, they can tolerate all soil types as long as the soil in well drained. When it comes to soil pH levels it also does well in both alkaline and acidic soil. If the soil is not well drained, you can easily correct that by adding organic material to the soil. How to plant a hydrangea when planting a hydrangea tree you have to space each plant at least 3-10 feet away. This will give them enough space to grow well to their full potential.
  • Water– during its growing stage, it needs sufficient water for it to grow well. Hydrangeas trees require a lot of sunlight, this automatically means it also requires a lot of water to replace the one that would have been absorbed by the plants and the sun. Under watering will cause the leaves and blooms to dry up. Hydrangeas trees do well in moist soil, in order to maintain that moisture you have to water thoroughly and frequently.
  • Sun light– an area that is bright and has adequate sunlight is most ideal to grow healthy hydrangea trees. They require direct warm sunlight in the morning and in the afternoon you should provide a shade. The strong intense afternoon heat damages the plants. On the other hand, shady and gloomy areas prevent the trees from growing to their full potential. The perfect spot is one that provide both more sunlight and a little bit of shade for hot summer afternoons.
  • Fertilizer– the soil needs to be enriched. Fertilizer helps the soil to enhance its nutrients and maintain its richness. The ideal time to fertilize is early spring just after you have pruned the trees.

Tips

  • Planting your hydrangeas in group of 3’s will help to make your garden look beautiful when they start blooming.
  • The best time to plant hydrangea trees is during late fall and early summer
  • You should not plant hydrangea trees close to other trees as that would prevent the roots from growing to their full potential. In turn , this will cause the plants not to grow well

Conclusion

Hydrangea trees are beautiful ornamental plants. They make a great addition to your garden with their colorful vibrant bountiful flowers. In order to properly groom them and properly grow them as tree forms. You have to choose the right species, to train them, to prune them and to properly care for them. This might seem like a lot of work but believe me in summer when they start to bloom into a range of colorful flower. You will realize that these trees were worth all your efforts and hard work.

Hydrangea Tree Care

The Hydrangea Tree

Of all the small, flowering trees, hydrangea trees are the most dramatic when in full bloom. In addition, they are easy to grow in almost all parts of the U.S. (except frost free areas), and they will bloom dependably year after year.

Hydrangea trees do not naturally grow into the shape of a tree. Left to their own devices, all hydrangeas will grow into shrubs with multiple stems. The only type hydrangea that can be made into a tree is Hydrangea paniculata. Nurseries prune them into single trunk trees when they are very young. Paniculatas dependably bloom on new growth every year in mid-summer, and the show is spectacular.

Planting

Planting the hydrangea tree properly is the key to its success. It should be planted in a location that receives at least four hours of sun a day for most of the spring and summer. It can thrive in full sun, but the blooms may last longer if they are in some shade during the hottest part of the day. Like most plants, it does best in moist but well-drained soil. It should not be planted too deeply. It should be planted at the same level as it was in the pot. The first year it is planted, the little tree should be watched carefully, and the soil should not be allowed to dry out.

If you purchase a hydrangea from the nursery already in tree form, you should provide extra bracing & support for the tree the first year or two. This will help the tree remain upright in strong windstorms, and ensure the tree grows straight up instead of sideways. This can easily be done with 2 or 3 posts in the ground that are attached to the tree with string. So the tree can’t flex sideways as far.

Pruning

Pruning may be the concern of many who grow this plant. Fortunately, pruning a paniculata will not cause any problems with blooming. It can be pruned at any time of the year except when blooms are forming on the tips of the branches in early to mid-summer. Bloom formation is easy to see if one looks carefully, even in the early stages. These trees can be left to grow naturally, or they may be pruned to control their shape.

After they have finished blooming in July or August, any branches growing across other branches may be removed. (I try to prune so that all branches are radiating toward the outside of the tree, rather than growing across the middle of the tree and across other branches.) The finished blooms may be removed at any time if the tree is small enough for one to reach the blooms. However, some people like to leave the blooms on the tree for winter interest, especially in areas where they can look lovely with snow on them.

Winter Care

Some people do cut the dead blooms off in the winter, so snow doesn’t weigh the branches down and break them off. Also, add a couple of inches of mulch around the base to help hold moisture in and insulate the roots. You can also wrap the ‘trunk’ with newspaper, felt, burlap, or a tree guard loosely to shield it from the wind. It also provides some protection from deer during the winter, when the deer are the hungriest. This probably isn’t necessary unless you live in an area with a very harsh winters or the first year or two after planting.

Beautiful Varieties

While any variety of Hydrangea paniculata may be grown as a tree, the most common variety planted at this time is ‘Limelight.’ The blooms on ‘Limelight’ are huge and can be seen from a great distance. Our favorite is the Vanilla Strawberry tree.

-A big thank you to our friend and renowned hydrangea expert Judith King for helping us write this article.

Plant Care 101: Limelight Hydrangea Tree

Beauty in bloom enters the limelight with this timeless tree. Flanked by lush green leaves and artfully delicate petals, the Limelight Hydrangea Tree makes a rich, voluminous statement.

Beauty in bloom enters the limelight with this timeless tree. Flanked by lush green leaves and artfully delicate petals, the Limelight Hydrangea makes a rich, voluminous statement. It’s no wonder landscapers love to place them in side yards, along sidewalks and beyond. And though this tree is a dwarf variety, it boasts huge blooms that absolutely enchant.

What else is there to love when it comes to the Limelight Hydrangea, and how do you care for it? Check out our rundown on why we adore this sweet and sleek botanical.

One of the best parts of the Limelight Hydrangea Tree: It’s super cold hardy. How hardy? Well, it withstands temperature drops down to 30 degrees. Seriously.

Plus, it’s pretty drought tolerant, so it continues to thrive in chilly and dry conditions. But despite its amazing durability, it’s important to plant your Limelight Hydrangea in a sun-soaked area with well-drained soil. The Limelight is hassle-free but doesn’t like standing water.

Summer Alive

So, there’s a lot of reasons why this tree takes the spotlight (or limelight, I should say). It’s cold hardy, it’s drought tolerant and it’s simply stunning. And, amazingly, that’s not all. It’s perfectly pest and disease resistant, so harsh sprays and chemicals are unnecessary for its care.

All it needs is a bit of fertilizer to burst forth with blooming beauties. A slow-release, balanced fertilizer formula, like 10-10-10 or 16-16-16, is ideal. As long as you follow the application instructions on the label, you and your Limelight Hydrangea are good to go.

Clean Cuts

Last but not least: Pruning. It can be a little intimidating, but there’s no reason to fret—pruning is actually pretty simple (and pretty for your tree).Plan to prune your Limelight Hydrangea during late winter or early spring, before new growth starts.

To maintain your tree’s stately appearance, cut back any growths on the main stalk. Clip back the Limelight’s branches to about 2 to 3 sets of nodes, which are little bumps that produce the blooms that flower in the summer. Remove any damaged branches or any branches growing inward towards the tree. And it’s always a good idea to sterilize your pruning tool with some rubbing alcohol to ensure a neat, clean cut.

Good looks, great blooms, and a gleaming garden. That’s what you’ll get with the Limelight Hydrangea. And best of all, it’s super low-maintenance. Just follow our tips to help your new tree thrive, whether it’s placed in your backyard, side yard or along your sidewalk. The Limelight Hydrangea is synonymous with beauty and strength in bloom. Check out the Limelight Hydrangea for yourself!

Last year I posted about pruning and have had a lot of interest, so since it’s getting to be that time again…

I’m not an expert gardener, I, like how my dad used to describe himself, am a ‘jack of all trades, and a king of none’… I know a lot, well… a little about a lot of things. 😉 But here are some things I know about the hydrangea tree we inherited when we moved into this 100 year old house…

The only variety of hydrangeas that can be made into tree form are Paniculata hydrangeas, or for short PeeGee. PeeGee hydrangeas are in the Paniculata family, so to speak. I don’t know enough to tell one type of Paniculata from the other, (or how to actually pronounce ‘Paniculata’) but I do know that the flower shape on them is more of a cone shape, unlike other varieties of hydrangea which are mophead or ball shape.

We for sure have a Paniculata hydrangea. 1. It is a tree shape and 2. the flowers are very cone shaped.

Here’s a close up of the flower from last summer:

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

When we first bought this house, a couple years ago, the landscaping had been so abused, that we weren’t even sure if this hydrangea tree would be worth saving.

The previous ‘lawn care’ people did a horrible job… it was obvious how every single tree was hit with lawnmower and weed wacker over and over again! This hydrangea tree was no exception. Everything that was close to the edge, where the lawnmower could get to it, was so beat-up, it was eventually killed by the abuse, leaving only the back branch still alive.

But we pruned it up early last spring, according to our new found knowledge for PeeGee hydrangeas and it did beautifully last summer. Here is a comparison:

So how to prune, that is the question…

Here are the basic pruning tips that I have found always apply to every pruning job I’ve ever done:

Once you apply these basic rules, depending on the particular type of tree or bush you’re pruning, there may be a few fine tune rules to apply… such as with apple trees, cutting off the upward branches or suckers, or like with these hydrangeas, make the actual cut on the branch just after the first bud, (I’ll explain that better a little further down)

Then the biggest question is when to prune.

For instance, lilacs need to be pruned as soon as they are done flowering, because next year’s blooms will be formed on the branches that are growing this year.

But with PeeGee or Paniculata hydrangeas, there is a lot of freedom for when to prune. The reason is because the flowers form in the summer right before they bloom. I think the best time to prune them is in the early spring though, because you really want to be able to see the buds to know where to snip. And once the hydrangea starts growing in the spring/summer the energy won’t be wasted on branches that you will be cutting off. In other words, if you haven’t already… it’s time think about pruning your PeeGee hydrangea!

I’ll give you a quick run down of pruning our PeeGee hydrangea.

This is what it looked like this spring, after a long winter. Keep in mind that we already did the major shaping last spring…

With a bin to collect the dead flowers and unwanted branches, a ladder and a clean, sharp pair of pruners, and a pair of loppers, we set to work. My husband on the ladder with the pruners, me on the ground with a cut branch, pointing to him which and where to cut, (I wonder what the neighbors think sometimes?) But really, teamwork like that is good for this job, because when you’re super close, it’s hard to get a good perspective.

It can seem like a daunting task…

with branches everywhere…

but I find it best to just start cleaning it up, applying the basic pruning tips…

And Loppers for the larger branches. You really need both to do the job well.

  1. Is it crossing over? Cut it out.
  1. Is it a small weak branch? Cut it off.
  2. How do I want the shape of the tree to be? Cut it accordingly.

  3. and place your cuts above the bud bumps where you want new growth to sprout from.

When you’re pruning the old branches off of a PeeGee, snip it above the little bump, that is the ‘bud’ on the branch, and this is where the new growth and new branch will sprout out. If you left the entire branch without pruning it shorter, the entire branch would sprout branches on all the bud bumps… which is too many, and would result in them all being weak, with small flowers.

And before you know it, you’re getting to a point of ‘cleaning’ the branches out that it is making sense and looking a bit less like a bad hair day and more like… well, I’d love to say a lovely tree formed shrub, but it will look a bit barren…

But, wait for it…

have no fear… It will come back and be lovely! See? The new growth is sprouting right where the little bud bumps were that we carefully pruned above! That new growth is what will grow into a sweeping 2 or 3 foot branch with a huge flower head at the end of it.

There is a lot of grace in pruning a PeeGee hydrangea… They really want to live, and by pruning it, the energy they have to live will be even more concentrated on what you left them to put it into.

So be encouraged to get pruning, because now you know how to prune a Hydrangea tree! It’s not so hard after all, especially if you remember the basic pruning tips…

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and now Instagram! I appreciate you reading along.

Want to read more? Click here to read more about the other gardening projects I’ve written about, both outside and inside.

This post is linked up at the following other sites: Between Naps on the Porch, Skip to My Lou, Coastal Charm, Inspire Me, The Scoop, Project Inspired, HomeStories A to z, A Stroll Thru Life, Tweak it Tuesday, From Dreams to Reality, Dream. Create. Inspire., Savvy Southern Style, Wordless Wednesdays, My Repurposed Life, Posed Perfection, DIY by Design, Vintage Charm, Designer Trapped, Design, Dining & Diapers, Simply Sweet Home, The Handmade Hangout, Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons, French Country Cottage, Chic on a Shoestring, That DIY Party

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