How Far Away From the Wall/ House Should I Plant My Limelight Hyd

CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)September 29, 2013

Here's my QUESTION for all of you Limelight growers:

How close to a house wall can I plant them. I live in Semi-Coastal Southern California, where yard space is a premium... So all of the areas where I would like to grow them are all along the perimeter of the house where they would be planted about 1.5 feet from the house. Is this too close to the house wall? Or do I need to create a larger flower bed? What would be the minimum amount of space away from a wall you would recommend planting them???

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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

For those cases where the cement leeches and makes the soil alkaline nearby, you could try planting 304" away. If the cement does not seem to be affecting the soil acidity, you could plant closer. The root system should not be much of an issue provided we are not talking about a big hydrangea like a PeeGee. A soil test kit from a local plant nursery could help determine if the soil acidity is alkaline or acidic.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 8:05PM
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IanW Zone 5 Ont. Can.

I'd be cautious of the reflective heat from the sun, if planted close to the house where the afternoon sun may scorch them....especially the rays that will hit it from noon onwards

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 8:50PM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

luis_pr: I do have alkaline soil and water in my area... I am going to try to ammend the soil with some acid soil mix before planting the Limelights... But based on my research, Limelights are supposed to be the most tolerant of various soil conditions... Fingers crossed they live up to their promises. I am also going to try and mulch with small pine bark to help add more acidity into the soil.

ians_gardener: The space where I would like to plant them at the back of the house gets NO direct sun... Only bright OPEN SHADE all day. So reflective heat from the wall is not a concern. What is a concern is negatively impacting the root system when planted only 1 to 1.5 feet from the house. Do you see any potential problems arising from this?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 10:04PM
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IanW Zone 5 Ont. Can.

I wouldn't be concerned about the roots.....roots of your limelights are not large or aggressive ....the myth that roots damage foundation walls is just that ......a myth....

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:12AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

I agree. I was just seeing the results of a video where a plumber determined that the roots of decades-old photinia bushes had penetrated into a co-worker's bath plumbing under the house. But I would not expect that from hydrangeas. I would still keep them away a little so I do not have to amend the soil often or so I can leave areas unmulched and uncovered (suggested to me as a way to minimize the chances of getting termites).

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:41AM
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hcmcdole(z7)

I would think about maintenance on your home siding. As the shrubs grow they will be hitting the siding of the home which isn't a huge problem until you need to get back there. So then you have to prune them back (which may not be a bad thing). Also the height can block windows or other things you want to be visible. The good thing is they shed their leaves in winter so you can prune easier than if it was a holly, loropetalum, or an azalea (done all 3 of these for maintenance a few times - amazing how fast they can grow in a few years).

For a good spread on Limelight I'd plant at least 3 feet away from the house, 5 feet would be even better. Consider a smaller version of Limelight if you want to plant close to the house (Little Lime, Little Lamb, Bobo, etc.) The other option is to espalier your limelight very close to the wall - not sure how well that would look but many other trees have been done that way - fruiting trees and recently I've seen Japanese maples as well.

My 3 year old Limelight from a gallon sized plant is now 8 feet tall and probably has an equal spread (four feet out from the trunks in all directions). I wonder what it will look like in another 3 years.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 9:07AM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

THANK YOU everyone for your all of your thoughtful insight.

hcmcdole: I really like your idea of trying to grow them as a free form esapaillar. Or what if I just prune REALLY aggressively on the backside???...

So here's what I'm thinking I'm going to do:

I am going to prune REALLY aggressively on the backside of the plant to minimize it's growth and spread against the wall... Do you think this would work??? I don't mind how much if it wants to spread forward away from the wall or side ways in width.

I would also like to minimize and maintain about a 5 foot height... That way it can overlap the bottom edge of my windows... And I can see the flowers even from the inside of the house. Is limelight the kind of hydrangea that will respond well to pruning and shaping during the growing season???

I know that I would probably make my life a whole lot easier if I just got the Little Lime variety... But it was nearly twice as much for a 2 gallon... Which isn't in my budget.

What do you all think??? Am I going to be sorry years from now for even considering this idea and thinking I can keep Limelights growth maintained with pruning during the growing season???

I've never had much luck with hydrangeas in the past... So it's difficult for me to fathom a hydrangea that will grow 8 feet tall and grow so quickly.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 3:47PM
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ssmdgardener(7)

I have a 3 year old Limelight. Early this spring, I cut it down to about 2 feet, probably shorter. Now it's about 7 feet tall and wide.

If you prune DURING the growing season, it's not going to flower.

I would NOT plant a Limelight closer than 3 feet to a structure. I would recommend either making a wider flower bed (it would look better that way anyway), or going with Little Lime.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:56AM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

THANK YOU ssmdgardener... and everyone who has been so generous with their knowledge.

As SAD as it makes me... I think some of the Limelights I just bought are going to have to go back to the store... :-(

Has anyone here grown Little Limelights? Are they more slow growing or do they grow just as fast as the full size Limelights, but just not as big???

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 2:42PM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

LL is advertised as being a smaller shrub but it has not been for sale long enough to confirm that it will remain so. Knock on wood!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:10PM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

ssmdgardener... I'm just a little bit confused about the pruning of Limelight Hydrangeas. What I've read, has led me to believe that Limelights flower on new wood?!?... Am I correct in this?... So based on the fact that they bloom on new wood... shouldn't they be able to still bloom during the growing season if I were to prune them to maintain their shape and size??? Again, PLEASE CORRECT me if I'm wrong.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 3:26AM
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ssmdgardener(7)

CreatedToCook, yes, Limelights do flower on new wood. They respond very well to late winter/early spring pruning.

However, if you continue to prune *during* the growing season, as you will need to do if you espalier or keep pruning to keep it a certain size, you will end up cutting off the blooms.

So you can spend your time and energy trying to keep this *large* shrub to a smaller size, only to sacrifice the blooms, or plant a smaller shrub and get all the blooms.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 6:54PM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

ssmdgardener: Thank you for the clarification. You make a GREAT point. I can make much wiser use of my time by just choosing the appropriate sized shrub to plant. I am so grateful for all of you experienced gardeners out there willing to share your knowledge with novices like myself. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:08AM
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