Climbing Hydrangea

Climbing hydrangea is a variety of hydrangea that, yes, climbs! Native to Asia, it brings the beauty of traditional hydrangea to walls and vertical elements. Though it has a rather slow-growing and shrubby habit as it is getting established, it is a robust and vigorous vine and will grow quickly after the first few years. Their large lacecap flower clusters (flower heads not as full as traditional hydrangeas) are fragrant, their autumn leaves a bright yellow. They are often used to green facades and are particularly suitable for shady north walls, in streets with little sunlight, to hide downpipes, etc... They are easy to care for ~ as long as they are given plenty of water!

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lat.: Hydrangea (anomala) petiolaris

Climbing hydrangea in bloom
Climbing hydrangea in bloom

To thrive...

Plant hydrangea in partial or full shade with an acidic to neutral rich humic soil-- moist and even wet; needs regular and initially deep watering. A compacted or calcareous (chalky) soil is poorly tolerated. Distance between plants: 1.5 - 4 metres. 

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Characteristics and Pruning

Climbing hydrangea came from Japan and was introduced to Europe around 1830. A self-climber with adhesive roots, it grows a little lower in height than ivy ~ up to 6 metres or so. With a trellis it can be trained as a woody shrub to appear less wild. The foliage lasts from April / May through the end of October. In June / July there are large flower umbels (heads) and ray florets like bright white stars. The foliage is a pale to golden yellow in autumn, with inconspicuous capsule fruits, decorative reddish brown shoots in winter. Pruning in spring promotes branching of the long shoots.

Climbing Aids for the Facade

Even though they have adhesive roots, climbing hydrangeas benefit from a trellis to support its frame and to ensure they won't fall from the facade. Choose a heavy trellis in the chart below; many options are available depending on the size of the area and vigour of growth.


Cable Systems?

Click on the image to see which cable trellis forms are compatible with climbing hydrangea. 

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Facade greening with climbing hydrangea

Have a look at the various ways climbing hydrangeas can green a facade...

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Botanical Elements and Climbing Aids

Leaves, flowers, autumnal colours, appearance in winter, pruning, budding in spring, and trellising...