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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. 

Hyndrangea petiolaris on a wall
2 hydrangeas on an office building
Keep the watering can close to the hydrangea! In other words, they need a lot of water
Beautiful climbing hydrangea in autumn, Naumburg / Saxony

Facade greening with climbing hydrangea

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

Very young climbing hydrangea anomala
Young hydrangea with new shoots
Hydrangea (anomala) petiolares at a house entrance
Two climbing hydrangeas
Wall greening with a climbing hydrangea
Street greening with climbing hydrangea
Climbing hydrangea along a shopping street, 2006, Sangerhausen / Saxony
Same plant as shown in the previous picture-- 2 years later (2008)
Hydrangea hiding a drainpipe, Bautzen / Saxony
Hydrangea covering a drainpipe
Greenery with large climbing hydrangea, Naumburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Big hydrangea petiolares
Hydrangea on a wooden trellis, early autumn-colouring
Two climbing hydrangeas on a wooden espalier (for better formation)
These climbing hydrangeas are pressed against each other by two vertical wire ropes and kept neatly in shape with a summer pruning
Sturdy hydrangea petiolares
Greening a hotel with climbing hydrangea
Two small climbing hydrangeas
Perennial climbing hydrangea
Bushy, unpruned, small climbing hydrangea
Climbing hydrangea
Building greenery with hydrangea in a public street space
Small facade greening with hydrangea
Greening the base of a building with hydrangea, Manor-Sierhagen / Schleswig-Holstein
Climbing hydrangea in a narrow, shaded alley, Groitzsch / Saxony
Greening a double garage with hydrangea, wire rope system 4020
Hydrangea on a house
Climbing hydrangea in late autumn

Botanical Elements and Climbing Aids

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

Without pruning and guidance on a trellis, climbing hydrangea grows bushy
Adhesive/aerial rootlets of the climbing hydrangea
Flower umbel with bright white blossoms
Potted hydrangea vine with yellow autumn foliage
Small climbing hydrangea with beautiful golden foliage in Fall
Two unpruned climbing hydrangea in winter
Occasional pruning is necessary to promote branching of the long shoots
Horizontal wire rope for several climbing hydrangeas, here with 4mm thickness and cross mounts, our 'heavy' version
Vertically oriented wire rope system for climbing hydrangea
Budding in spring
Young leaves in spring
This climbing hydrangea has fallen off the wall...
...later the same plant got a "fall protection" (wire rope trellis)