Hydrangea paniculata 'SMNHPPH' LIMELIGHT PRIME
Common Name: panicle hydrangea 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Hydrangeaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Creamy white to pale green maturing to dark pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy, Good Cut, Good Dried


Best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Can be trained as a small single trunk tree, but is best grown as a large, multi-stemmed shrub. May display best shrub form if regularly pruned to a height of 6-10’ tall. This is one of the most winter hardy of the hydrangeas. It thrives in urban conditions. Bloom occurs on current season’s growth, so prune as needed in late winter to early spring.

Larger flower panicles can be obtained by thinning the plants to 5-10 primary shoots. In full bloom, the weight of the flower panicles will typically cause the branches to arch downward.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hydrangea paniculata, commonly called panicle hydrangea, is a vigorous, upright, rapid-growing, somewhat coarsely textured, deciduous shrub that is native to China and Japan. It typically grows to 8-15’ (less frequently to 25’) tall, and features oval to ovate dark green leaves and upright, sharply-pointed, conical, terminal flower panicles (to 6-8” long) containing both fertile and sterile flowers (mostly non-showy fertile flowers) that bloom from mid-summer into fall.

The genus name Hydrangea comes from hydor meaning "water" and aggeion meaning "vessel", in reference to the cup-like capsular fruit.

The specific epithet paniculata refers to the arrangement of the flowers in panicles.

'SMNHPPH' is a panicle hydrangea selection that features dark green, glossy foliage and dense, cone-shaped flowerheads on upright stems. This cultivar was discovered as the result of open pollination between Hydrangea paniculata 'SMHPZIND' and an unknown pollen parent. Mature plants will reach around 4-6' tall with a similar spread. The 4.25" long, terminal panicles appear in mid-summer and are made up of creamy white to pale green sterile florets that mature to dark pink by early fall. When compared to H. paniculata 'Limelight', this cultivar blooms several weeks earlier and has an overall more compact growth habit. Commonly sold at nurseries and garden centers under the name LIMELIGHT PRIME. This plant is protected by patent number PP32511.


Some susceptibility to bud blight, bacterial wilt, leaf spot, rust and mildew. Aphids and mites are occasional visitors.


Mass or group in a mixed shrub border or open woodland garden. Also effective as a lawn specimen, accent or hedge. Provides late summer bloom when few other shrubs are in flower. Flowers can be used in fresh-cut or dried arrangements.