NewsJune’s plant of the month - the Golden Rain Tree
The summer is there! Whether you’re barbecuing, taking a dip or having a little time out with your favourite book – however you like to use your garden, there’s one thing that most gardens have in common: the hydrangea. This richly flowering ornamental plant is one of the best loved in all of Germany – and it’s little wonder! With its wonderful large blossoms, it’s not only beautiful; it’s also very low maintenance. And just why the “Limelight” strain of hydrangea is the most sought after of all, we’ll tell you below.
A bewitching interplay of colours for your garden
The hydrangea paniculata “Limelight” captivates with its sumptuous blossoms. From July until late summer, the Limelight features upright-standing umbels of up to 25 cm long, at a time when most other plants have long since flowered. At first the small blossoms possess a fresh, lime-green colour (which is where it gets its name of ‘Limelight’). Once they’ve properly blossomed however, the green fades and they shimmer in vibrant white, until in September this changes to a soft pink colouring. But even in their fully flowered state, which is a light brown, the robust panicles are still extremely decorative — and because of this and their long durability they are also popular in florist shops.
A green light — even for the less than green thumb
And just where it’s usually too hot for other plants, is exactly where the panicle hydrangea thrives. It prefers a wind-protected, sunny place with relatively little shadow, and here they will tend to grow up to a height of 3 metres. Whether the hydrangea paniculata does in fact reach this height, or if it finds itself captivating as a full-bodied 1,5 - 2 metre large shrub, depends on your personal taste. Those who prefer to keep the panicle hydrangea small and bushy should make a radical cutback of around 15-20 cm in the spring. Those who prefer a taller plant on the other hand, should simply cut the plant back less frequently and less radically. As with all panicle hydrangeas, blossoms accompany only the new shoots.
Whoever spends a lot of time in the sun should also make sure to drink a lot — and it’s no different for the ‘Limelight’. Ideally one should add a layer of bark mulch to the plant hole, whether in the earth or in a plant pot, before adding the hydrangea. The mulch stores moisture and in this way helps the roots to avoid drying out, even in periods of extreme heat. Regular watering is still however unavoidable. The most acceptable form of watering for the plant is with rainwater, since the hydrangea is sensitive to lime. It also prefers sandy-humic, porous and generally acidic earth. The ‘Limelight’ strain is also extremely adept at surviving winter. However if it is in a place that isn’t wind protected, then some light winter protection is advisable.
For those of you still not quite convinced: the ‘Limelight’ strain of the panicle hydrangea is best suited to being grown in a pot. This means that the location of the plant can be changed as and when you wish. The plant should be repotted every 2-3 years.