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How To Grow And Care For «Little Lime» Hydrangeas

15 de november de 2023

The «Little Lime» hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) is a patented cultivar that is a dwarf variety of the «Limelight» hydrangea. Compared to its famous eight-foot-tall sibling, «Limelight,» the «Little Lime» hydrangea may look too small. But don’t think this petite shrub can’t make a statement in the garden—it still has a big personality. This variety, which maintains a compact and manageable size of three to five feet tall and wide, adds a visual «wow» factor when loaded with large flowers.

«Limelight» and «Little Lime» are varieties of Hydrangea paniculata, a typically tall, deciduous shrub native to Japan and China. Panicle hydrangeas bear conical clusters of flower petals, blooming from mid-summer until fall. «Little Lime,» also known as «Jane,» has oval green foliage and produces tightly packed green panicles in the summer. The chartreuse blooms brighten to a soft white, then turn rosy pink and finally burgundy as they age, extending the show into the fall. Cool fall nights result in the most dramatic color, so results can differ depending on where you live. A border of several plants can result in a multi-colored cotton candy effect in the garden. Another nice feature of «Little Lime» is the sturdy, branching stems that hold the flower heads upright with little drooping. Like all hydrangeas, the «Little Lime» is toxic to people and pets.

Plant Attributes

 Common Name: «Little Lime,» «Jane»
 Botanical Name: Hydrangea paniculata
 Family: Hydrangeaceae
 Plant Type: Perennial, Shrub
 Mature Size: 3-5 ft. tall, 3-5 ft. wide
 Sun Exposure: Full, Partial
 Soil Type: Moist, Well-drained
 Soil pH: Acidic (5.5 to 6.5)
 Bloom Time: Summer
 Flower Color: Red, Pink, Green, White
 Hardiness Zones: Zones 3-8 (USDA)
 Native Area: Asia
 Toxicity:  toxic to dogs, toxic to cats, toxic to pets, toxic to people

«Little Lime» Hydrangeas Care

«Little Lime» hydrangea is small enough to grow in containers but also makes a bold statement when used in a mass planting along a fence, a flower border, or the sunny edge of a woodland garden. A single-mounded shrub can stand on its own or in a mixed border. Its dramatic bloom coloration makes it an excellent addition to your cut flower gardens—use fresh or dried.

Like most hydrangeas, «Little Lime» prefers evenly moist soil and requires supplemental watering in dry weather or drought conditions. An easy-going, reliable performer, «Little Lime» is hardy in USDA Zones 3–8 and can be grown in full sun or part sun but is happiest with afternoon shade in the South. This hydrangea should be fine if you forgo fertilizing altogether, but you can apply a controlled-release fertilizer in early spring. Choose a fertilizer that prioritizes flowers over the foliage. Then sit back on the patio this summer, sip your lemonade, and enjoy the show.


The «Little Lime» hydrangeas bloom best in full sun. In areas with harsh summer heat, some partial afternoon shade is beneficial.


«Little Lime» hydrangeas prefer well-drained, evenly moist soil to help avoid root rot. Supplement the soil with mulch to help it retain moisture or to protect the roots from harsh weather conditions. The soil should be fertile.


This plant needs an average amount of water, only watering again when the top two inches are dry. During droughts, hydrangeas will need more water than during periods of frequent rainfall. Remember to moisten the soil, especially throughout the first year after planting.

Temperature and Humidity

The «Lime Light» hydrangea grows best in USDA Zones 3-8. Avoid planting hydrangeas in an area susceptible to high winds. Hydrangeas prefer more moderate temperatures and humidity, as too much can cause the blooms to droop.


«Little Lime» hydrangeas only need light fertilization. Add a controlled, granular, slow-release fertilizer in early spring according to the label instructions. Add a second fertilizer application in late summer to encourage more blooms. Keep the plant healthy throughout the fall and winter by amending the soil with compost or adding mulch around the roots.

Types of Panicle Hydrangeas

The «Little Lime» hydrangea is a cultivar variety, but several Panicle Hydrangeas are similarly hardy, adaptable, and easy to grow. Here are some to know: 

  • «Fire Light»: A hardy, minimal maintenance blooming shrub that transitions from white to red in the fall. 
  • «Little Lamb»: A delicate white hydrangea shrub that turns pink in the fall. 
  • «Diamond Rouge»: A stunning hydrangea that blooms white and transitions to deep raspberry red. 


Unlike many hydrangeas that bloom on old wood and should be pruned after flowering, «Little Lime» blooms on new wood and should be trimmed to the preferred size and shape in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. The later you prune, the later that «Little Lime» can produce flowers. The only prune required is to remove dead wood, which provides «Little Lime» a trim to encourage new growth and abundant buds. For winter interest, you can leave dried blooms on the shrub in the fall.

Propagating «Little Lime» Hydrangeas

As a patented cultivar, you can’t propagate the «Little Lime» hydrangea as it infringes the copyright.

Potting and Repotting «Little Lime» Hydrangeas

As a dwarf hydrangea variety, the «Little Lime» hydrangea grows well in containers. Ensure the container is well-draining so excess moisture does not create a wet soil environment, leading to rot or other fungal diseases. 

Repot hydrangeas during dormancy in early spring. After waking from its dormancy, it will have more energy to adjust to its new environment—plant hydrangeas in a pot with good drainage and large enough to add soil around the roots.


The «Little Lime» hydrangea is relatively cold-hardy, so adding a thin layer of mulch around the roots can protect it throughout the winter in most environments. Use pine straw, oak leaves, or wood mulch. Avoid planting hydrangeas in an area susceptible to strong winds. 

If growing «Little Lime» hydrangeas in containers, these plants are more susceptible to frost damage and need to move to a warmer location or use thicker mulch for insulation throughout the winter. Adding a burlap or cloth covering around the container plant can help provide insulation. Remove the covering after the last frost passes and ensure enough air circulation and proper drainage throughout the season change.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

The «Little Lime» hydrangea is relatively carefree and disease-resistant. While this hardy plant is generally trouble-free, some insects, diseases, and problems can become an issue. Insects such as aphids, soft scales, whiteflies, and spider mites can infest hydrangeas. Wash these pests away by spraying the foliage with a water hose for a few days until the infestation is gone. If the problem persists, an insecticidal soap and pruning damaged or diseased plants can help rid the plant of pests.

Some diseases include leaf spots, rust spots, and mildew. Avoid diseases from developing by providing proper air circulation and avoiding wet soil. Additionally, when watering, avoid wetting the foliage and instead focus on the roots.

How to Get «Little Lime» Hydrangeas to Bloom

«Little Lime» hydrangeas bloom on new wood, so to avoid accidentally removing new growth, prune in late winter or early spring before it begins. Deadheading can also encourage a second showing of flowers. Additionally, ensure proper sun exposure to help flowers bloom. Hydrangeas need at least six hours of daily sunlight.

Common Problems With «Little Lime» Hydrangeas

While «Little Lime» hydrangeas are easy to maintain, there are still some common problems to know about so you can treat them if an issue occurs. Here are some things to know:

Leaves Turning Yellow

If hydrangea leaves turn yellow unexpectantly during the growing season, it likely receives insufficient watering—either too much or little. Additionally, hydrangea plants that receive too much fertilization can damage the root system. Avoid yellowing foliage by allowing the soil to dry entirely before watering to prevent soggy conditions.

Leaves Turning Black/Brown

Leaves turning brown can signify too much fertilization, which can burn the foliage and roots. Keep constantly moist soil to help avoid over-fertilization and only add applications to healthy plants. Hydrangea rust causes foliage to develop orange-brown spots on the underside of the leaves. When watering, this fungal disease spreads the spores throughout the foliage, eventually causing the leaves to drop off. Always water the base of the plant to prevent the fungus from spreading, and keep the foliage as dry as possible to avoid rust. Fungicides can help treat rust if the issue persists.