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August 8, 2020

Darrell Blackwelder column: Hydrangeas are in full bloom

Many are curious about shrubs blooming throughout the county garnering white, puffy blooms. Some are confused and think these profuse bloomers are some type of snowball bush. However, these landscape plants in full bloom are most likely hydrangea paniculata. There are many cultivars of this shrub from small plants to tree form types. “Limelight” seems to be a popular cultivar grown in this area and is now in full bloom. This is a relatively new cultivar introduced from Holland. The deciduous shrub can have very large, white flowers from 6 to 12 inches in length. Limelight hydrangeas adapt well to sunlight better than the older grandiflora hydrangea cultivars. These showy plants grow best in loamy soil with ample moisture, but when well established, can adapt to dry weather conditions often experienced in our area. This is a major advantage with this type of hydrangea — is its ability to grow in sunny locations. It adapts best with full sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon.

These profuse flowering shrubs can reach heights of eight feet so be careful in placement. There are a number of dwarf cultivars such as “Little Lime” that are more compact and much smaller. These plants are disease and insect hardy, but can be a favorite of deer. Go to the web at https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/all/hydrangea-paniculata/  for more detailed information about this cultivar.

Darrell Blackwelder is the retired horticulture agent and director with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Contact him at deblackw@ncsu.edu .

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