White Wedding Hydrangea vs Limelight Hydrangea: Two Beautiful Varieties of The Stunning Flower

Written by Rita Pike
Published: November 11, 2022
© Mike Russell/Shutterstock.com
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Beautiful flowers in the garden space are one of those things that everyone can appreciate. Whether you’re out there in your own yard, smelling the fragrance lifted by the breeze while you sip a cuppa tea in the morning or walk past someone’s well-plotted flower paradise on your evening stroll.

Finding the perfect varieties for your flower box or container garden can be challenging though, even when you know the species you want. So, we’re taking a look at two types of hydrangeas to help you discover which one might be the perfect one for you.

limelight hydrangea growing in field
Glorious limelight hydrangea showing off their green and white colors together.

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Comparisons: White Wedding Hydrangea vs. Limelight Hydrangea

White Wedding HydrangeaLimelight Hydrangea
Classificationhydrangea paniculata ‘LeeP1’ WHITE WEDDINGhydrangea paniculate ‘Limelight’
DescriptionWhite wedding hydrangea reach up to 15 feet in height, with plants as wide as 8 feet, with dark green leaves and vivid white, round blooms.Limelight hydrangea have huge 10-inch pale green blossoms with dark green leaves, The plant grows up to 8 feet in height and width.
UsesWhite wedding hydrangea may be used for privacy “fencing,” specific decorative purposes, dried flowers, cut flowers, ornamental garden plants, and may have medicinal properties to help with liver and kidney issues.Limelight hydrangea has specific ornamental uses, thanks to its green blooms that shift from cream to pink throughout blooming season. The flowers may also be used in cut arrangements, dried flower settings, and possibly herbal remedies.
Origins and Growing PreferencesWhite wedding hydrangea originated in Asia and eastern Russia as panicle hydrangea, ultimately being patented in Louisiana. They do best in nutrient-rich soil that’s medium moist, in full sun.Limelight hydrangea was patented in the Netherlands in the late 80s or early 2000s and does best in nutrient rich soil and full to partial shade, depending on the climate.
Special Features and Fun FactsWhite wedding hydrangeas are celebrated for their vivid white color.Limelight hydrangeas are particularly appreciated for their unique color shifts through their lifetime, which supposedly helped to rejuvenate the hydrangea in the landscaping industry.

Key Differences Between White Wedding Hydrangea and Limelight Hydrangea

Obviously, there are a lot of similarities between the two flower varieties, since they’re both hydrangea. However, there are some distinctive differences between white wedding hydrangea vs. limelight hydrangea. Let’s take a look and see which variety might be the one you’re looking for.

White Wedding Hydrangea vs. Limelight Hydrangea: Classification

white hydrangea shrubs
Vivid white hydrangea shrubs

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White wedding hydrangea, or hydrangea paniculata ‘LeeP1’ WHITE WEDDING is a variety of the panicle hydrangea species that’s considered a deciduous shrub. This variety thrives in Zones 3 to 8, offering blooms from July to September, and coming in white blooms. Many other hydrangea species come in other colors but the white wedding variety is particularly known for its vivid white blooms.

The word ‘hydrangea’ comes from combining hydor (meaning water) and aggeion (meaning vessel), referencing the need the plant has for plenty of water and the cup-like shape of the unique flower. Panicle refers to the particular arrangement of the flowers into a panicle, which is a loose cluster of flowers. The white wedding variety is a particular upright selection of this type of hydrangea.

The limelight hydrangea variety is also a panicle hydrangea. This variety’s name is hydrangea paniculate ‘Limelight’. This means this variety is also a deciduous shrub. This variety also does best in Zones 3 to 8 and blooms from July to September. This particular variety is known for a chartreuse to lime shading, however, earning it the name “limelight.”

White Wedding Hydrangea vs. Limelight Hydrangea: Description

The white wedding hydrangea grows to heights between 8 and 15 feet, with bright white blooms popping out between July and September, thriving in the warmer temperatures. The shrub is an upright, rapid-growing plant with somewhat coarsely textures, with oval to ovate dark green leaves and sharply pointed, upright flower panicles (clusters) of vibrant white blooms. The plant specifically has rounded dome-shaped inflorescences of sterile white flowers that each typically grow to 6 inches in size, on sturdy stems. The plant often has a 6- to 8- foot spread.

Limelight hydrangeas have even larger panicles of flowers growing up to 10 inches. The leaves are also rounded with deep, dark green coloration. The flowers cluster in the same concept of panicles, in pale green, thus earning the name for the flower variety. The flowers change colors throughout the season, though, shifting from the pale, creamy green to white, and even into pink shades before the leaves fall off as the season shifts to wintertime. The leaves turn from green to shades of red in autumn.

Limelight hydrangea are a little more compact than white wedding, though, growing up to 8 feet tall, though as wide as 8 feet.

White Wedding Hydrangea vs. Limelight Hydrangea: Uses

limelight hydrangea blooms
Bold green limelight hydrangea blooms showing off their namesake color.

©Mike Russell/Shutterstock.com

Hydrangeas as a while have many benefits. The main use differences between these two beautiful flowers are based on their color and plant height.

Since white wedding hydrangea typically grow taller than limelight hydrangea, white wedding makes for a great privacy “fence” plant in season. The plant is also preferred by folks looking for that vivid, distinctive white flower.

Limelight, however, is just as wide as white wedding, and has the unique pale green blossoms that have their own aesthetic purposes. Many folks choose to grow both varieties together for some color variation.

Hydrangeas in general are great for cut flowers, container gardens, traditional flower garden beds, and show gardens. The plants are also typically large enough when mature that they function well as privacy plants, borders, and similar.

Hydrangea flowers may also be dried and pressed or kept as dried flowers for arrangements and unique décor. Hydrangeas are popular with pollinators as well, are pest resistant, and are believed to hold medicinal powers. Hydrangea root has been used for urinary tract issues, while supplements made from the plant are believed by some to help relieve liver toxicity (some studies show this may be a legitimate claim), have anti-inflammatory properties, protect kidneys, and help lower blood sugar levels.

White Wedding Hydrangea vs. Limelight Hydrangea: Origins and Growing Preferences

Close up of green limelight hydrangea flowers
Close up of green limelight hydrangea flowers

©Bonnie Taylor Barry/Shutterstock.com

The panicle hydrangea is native to Korea, Japan, southeastern China, and eastern Russia. The plant was brought to Europe in 1736 and the Americas several years later. However, there’s evidence that the plant was in North America millennia ago, due to fossil records, but this is less certain than other evidences.

White wedding hydrangea is a patented variety of hydrangea, named and claimed by Robert E. Lee (not the infamous general) in Louisiana, in 2018.

White wedding does best when grown in organically rich soil that’s medium moisture and well-drained. The plant prefers full sun but handles partial shade, and can be trained as a single small trunk tree instead of wider branching shrub. The plant also thrives in urban areas, as long as it is properly cared for and regularly pruned.

Limelight hydrangea are also a patented variety of the gorgeous flower. Limelight is the blending of two varieties that were unpatented, by Pieter Zwijnenburg, a plant breeder in the Netherlands. He crossed these two selections, creating the unique limelight cultivar in 1986. Other records show the cultivar came into existence as late as 2002. Likely, it is that Zwinjnenburg took a while to actually patent the plant after much work and experimentation.

Limelight hydrangea is a flexible cultivar that works with full to partial shade, as long as it doesn’t get too hot. They prefer rich, well-drained soil that’s slightly acidic and kept moderately moist.

White Wedding Hydrangea vs. Limelight Hydrangea: Special Features and Fun Facts

Apart from their distinctive patenting stories, limelight and white wedding hydrangeas share most of the same unique features and stories. They’re both reasonably new cultivars, though, the limelight hydrangea has a hint of a legend surrounding it. Supposedly the plant helped to rejuvenate landscaping in North America.

Closeup of white hydrangea flowers
Closeup of white hydrangea flowers

©t_korop/Shutterstock.com

Hydrangeas were first cultivate in Japan, but there are fossil records dating back millions of years in North America, indicating the flowers were here long, long ago. And their colorful blooms change because of the type of soil they’re grown in, rather than specifically the variety of plant they are. Blue flowers are grown in soil with pH levels below 5.5. Purple flowers have pH soil levels between 5.5 and 6.5, white is in soil between 6 and 6.2, and pink is anything in soil over 7 pH. If your soil has various levels of pH, you could easily have a wide range of colors and shades all in the same plot.

Hydrangeas don’t actually have petals – they have sepals, which are technically leaves that protect the hidden flower bud. Finally, hydrangeas are both hypoallergenic and fragrance free, yet they still attract pollinators.

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The Featured Image

limelight hydrangea blooms
limelight hydrangea blooms
© Mike Russell/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Rita Mock-Pike (she/her) is the granddaughter of aviation pioneer Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from across the planet. She is a freelance journalist and content writer with many bylines (CNN, Al-Jazeera, Tor.com, Wandering Educators, Paradise Magazine, Travel Awaits, others). She is an author with Simon & Schuster’s imprint Ulysses Press, with “The Unofficial Hogwarts for the Holidays” and “I Love Trader Joe’s Air Fryer” cookbooks. Rita is the co-founding Editor-in-Chief of the MockingOwl Roost, a literary and art magazine, and director/producer of the performing arts branch of the MockingOwl Creatives, and the head of forthcoming MockingOwl Publishing. Rita gives lectures and speeches on Jerrie Mock, is an acting coach, wellness/fitness coach, personal fitness trainer, writing mentor, voice actor, performance artist, and stage and film director. She uses these many skills and life experiences to assist in her writing work and studies as a seminarian at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago, Illinois. She’s happily married to Matt and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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