Climbing Hydrangea

tsa47August 29, 2005

Does anybody in Toronto/GTA have any experience on growing Climbing Hydrangea. I have a north facing 6 ft high wood fence, 60 to 70 ft long that I would like to cover.

From what I have read so far form different web sites. C.H. is a slow growing and shade like plant.

1) I am just wondering how many plants do I need to cover the whole length of the fence ?

2) Are the flowers of the C.H. fragrant ?

3) Where can I buy C.H. here in the 905 area ?

4) Or is there any other vines I should consider ?


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Hi Tsa47,

I don't live in Toronto but I know the city very well. Climbing Hydrangea is initially a very slow growing vine. After 3 to 5 years, it will suddenly show a huge growth spurt and in time, it could even knock down your wooden fence because it is such a powerful climber. If you want to consider using another plant you could try the HydrangeaÂs faster growing Âcousin Schizophragma hydrangeoides (Japanese Hydrangea Vine). It has beautiful foliage. In my opinion, the flowers of Schizophragma are more attractive than that of the climbing Hydrangea. There are several cultivars of Schizophragma like the pink flowering S. roseum or S. Moonlight that has green, silvery variegated foliage.

You would need about 4 vines to cover a 70 foot area. But bear in mind, both vines will take several years to fill in. I have not noticed any fragrance from either of the two vines.

Because itÂs late in the season, you may not find them that easily. I would try Humber Nurseries in Brampton or Plant World in Etobicoke. They are both in the phone book and to save yourself a trip itÂs probably best to give them a call to check availability.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2005 at 11:05AM
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I bought the Japanese Hydrangea Vine this past summer - the pink. It will be climbing into a Rock Maple at the corner of our property. For some reason, there is one area at the bottom of this tree which is not rootbound, and has beautiful rich soil.
What kind of growth can I expect from this one? Same as the regular Climbing Hydrangea? Got it at the Atlantic Superstore quite by surprise!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 9:52PM
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Hi Tiffy,

Schizophragma (Japanese Hydrangea Vine) is slow growing too but not as slow as climbing hydrangea. During the first 3 years or so they grow about 1 foot per year but by the fourth year they put on good growth and really take off to about 10 feet height.

This is a lovely vine with very distinct and larger individual flowers than Hydrangea petiolaris. The foliage is also stunning because it emerges bluish green with deep veining. I would not necessarily place it in a very shady spot because the flowering will be diminished or near a thirsty tree (Norway Maple) with above ground roots since the plant would then require continuous watering.

Hope this info helps.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 10:52AM
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Hi Mary,

Thank you very much for you valuable info. I think IÂll follow your advice and go with the Japanese Hydrangea Vine. I sure wouldnÂt like my hydrangea to bring down my neighbourÂs new wooden fence.

Mary, should I plant it now (if I can find J.H. in the nursery right now) or should I wait till next spring?


    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 3:05PM
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Yes - I would plant it now and go to Humber Nurseries sale! They are sure to have them.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 5:08PM
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Thanks Mary!

The Maple it is planted next to... well, we lost 1/3 of it during Hurricane Juan in 2003. So one whole side of the tree, being the sunny side, lost two big branches.
I planted the Vine on the east side of the tree, about two feet away from the trunk. The roots on this maple are not shallow like others. I was able to dig down 2 feet without breaking a shovel. LOL!! Our neighbour lost all of her Silver Maples during the hurricane due to their shallow roots, but this tree was the only one affected on our property, and I think it has to do with age. We have several others and they are wonderful in the spring with their dangling red flower tassles, and in the fall they put on quite the show in bright oranges and reds!

Thank you for your insight!!


    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 8:20PM
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Hi Mary,
Did you buy your Schizophragma roseum plant in Montreal? I have been looking for it in the garden centres in Montreal and can only find the white ones not the pink ones. Unfortunately, it sold out online at Garden Imports.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 8:49PM
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Here in Nova Scotia we have the Atlantic Superstore which is where I found the Schiz. I believe you may have Loblaws which is the same. Try their garden center. You may find it there.

Mine is doing great this year!

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 9:14PM
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Thanks Tiffy--
I'm glad your vine is going great- I was a little bit worried about the vine being a zone 5. But I guess if you didn't have any problems over winter where you are, I should be o.k. in Montreal.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 10:59PM
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Just a head's up for those searching in Montreal for them. I have found the Climbing Hydrangea (not the Japanese one) at Marche Jean Talon. I was there over the weekend and ran across them at one of the perennial garden spot. It is located at the far end of the Market (if my direction is correct, they are located on the south most part of the market).

I only saw the white flower one and they were priced at $25 for a gallon container. They have about a dozen of these plants for sale.



    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 12:02PM
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jannabeen(z5 US/z6 Canada)

I have a climbing hydrangea growing in partial shade in a container on an exposed top-floor deck. I was amazed to find that it survived the winter well and has started flowering. I got it from Loblaws at the end of the summer for half-off. I had previously tried growing a St. Lawrence wisteria (supposedly hardy to zone 3) and honeysuckle but neither survived for long. So if hardiness is one of your criteria, the climbing hydrangea is one tough plant.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 10:39PM
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I have two young C.H. which I've planted against my brick house last summer. They started budding last week and I would like to train them up the side of the house. What's the best trellis or makeshift trellis for them ? Do they even NEED a trellis since they have tendrils ?

Thanks in advanced

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 11:40PM
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Dear Christina,

They will do great against a brick fence or growing up a tree or a stand alone arbor or the beams of a heavy trellis. I just won't recommend them as vines against a house. They can be very damaging because of many factors. They have claspers that dig in the brick. They trap moisture which can lead to rot or mold issues. They can grow up to the eaves and cause further damage. Plus that they make great ladders for creatures such as mice.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 1:05PM
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thank you Ianna for the tip about the house concerns with the CH. might just plant it in the forest away from the house

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 4:03PM
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cziga(Zone 5 -Toronto)

We have a climbing hydrangea growing up the side of our house (eastern exposure). It was already a huge established plant when we moved in ... it does not need a trellis, it grabs onto the brick and climbs by itself. We hack it back by half every Spring, and it will still be at the eaves by the end of the summer.

IF you're going to grow it on the house, you have careful. Ianna raised many valid points about the potential downfalls. Ours is too large to move now, and I wouldn't want to kill it ... but eventually I may try to move it just because of all the problems it can cause.

I would suspect a CH is too large, vigorous and heavy for a trellis or wooden fence. Growing up a tree might be nice. Certainly no hardiness issues with this one either. When it is in full bloom, it looks quite spectacular ... you just need to find the right spot for it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mad Dogs and Englishmen

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 6:47PM
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can you grow this climbing Hydrangea in Winnipeg, and if so where would you find one. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 7, 2014 at 12:18PM
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