Climbing Hydrangea

jleek(5/ma)August 4, 2005

Do they need more sun than other hydrangeas? Have had mine planted for about four or five years. Heavy shade and tree foliage overhead, on the North/east. Not that much growth and I am thinking of relocating. Thank you for any help.

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Following a design laid out by a landscape artist, I planted a Climbing Hydrangea against the chimney on the northwest corner of our house. With the exception of a month or so on either side of the first day of summer, it get NO direct sunlight.
If you look at the plant, you might notice that its roots tend to be very shallow and they spread quite a bit. It's my hunch that this hydrangea spends a few years simply establishing itself.
I placed a very large trellis on the chimney this spring and I'd say the hydrangea has grown at least two foot this year. It looks very healthy and I'm pleased with it.
But I was googling Climbing Hydrangeas just now, and it says they like full sun to partial shade, so if you want to move it, I'd wait until it's dormant, then CAREFULLY dig it up. I'd begin digging at least three feet away from the plant and work my way inward, until I encountered the roots. You obviously want to save as many roots as possible and replant them at the approximate depth you encountered them.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 12:25PM
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Thank you, Hyperboy. Did go out to check it after asking the question. There has been more new growth than I realized--more crawling along the ground I would say. Looks healthy and appears to get splashes of filtered sun. Will watch it a bit more closely. How long has your plant been in the ground?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 12:44PM
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Claire Pickett

I have had mine for 3 years now with nary a blossom. It is in a partial sun placement in the garden, very healthy (except for Japanese Beetles) and has grown lots in thickness and height. I'm wondering if I should protect it in the winter to possibly prevent bud-kill by frost.

claire in nc

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 9:05AM
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In z7 you don't have to do anything to cl.hydranges, beside the point that you'll not be able to locate flowering buds before they'll emerge in a spring.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 11:45AM
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I think this is my Climbing Hydrangea's 2nd summer.
I have so many other things to attend to in the garden, I paid almost no attention to it until the first of this year. I needed to repair the chimney behind the hydrangea, and while I was at it, I put up a 20' 3/4" copper tube trellis. That's when I noticed the thick mat of near-surface roots.
I just assumed the plant was building up strength and a support base for it natural climbing habit. Once the plant reached the trellis, it knew just what to do.
Do you have some sort of trellis for your plant? I think this stimulates growth somehow, and it turns lateral into vertical growth.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 12:08PM
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A trellis is not necessary for climbing hydrangea, as they are not twining vines but rather they cling by tenicles (like ivy) on almost any surface. All I had to do was lay the stems (which are very maluable) on the side of my tree and they stuck like glue in a matter of a day or two and they climb like crazy from then on. The average trellis is not sturdy or large enough to support the very heavy woody vine that Anomala Petiolaris will become. This is no bleeding heart, it is a monster at maturity. By the way, it is not uncommon for this plant to take 5 years or so to start blooming but well worth the wait......yg

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 1:19PM
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Thank you all for your help. Hopefully next spring I will see results. My climbing hydranger is near a hugh pine tree and if it reaches out just a little further it will soon touch!

Oh Yellowgirl, perhaps next year will be my year for flowers! Have a great planting weekend all! Jacquelyn

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 4:48PM
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HollyT(z7 NoVA)

Climbing hydrangeas grow well without sun, but many people find they don't bloom much without it.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 7:56PM
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The only reason I suggested a trellis is because, initially, there was no mention of anything for the Climbing Hydrangea to CLIMB. I thought that it may not have appeared to be growing much because most of the growth was lateral. A nice pine, however, will make an excellent support.
You're right about the holdfasts on this plant. I'm training the vines in and out of the trellis, but its already stuck itself to the smooth wood of the chimney.


    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 10:14AM
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Will the trendrills attach to a smooth wood siding like board and batten 6" wide that runs horizontal and connects together leaving 1/4" horizontal groves?
I just bought my first plant, it is about 3ft tall in a 3gal pot. I want to have it climb up my garden shed.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 10:27AM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

One thing I read recently about climbing hydrangeas that I didn't see mention here, was that a climbing hydrangea will not bloom until it "finishes" climbing. For example, mine is planted next to a 50 foot tree, so presumably it will climb (slowly) up that tree and once it reaches its maximum height it will bloom. However, if I were to plant it on a 12ft trellis, it would bloom once it reached the maximum height of the trellis (at 12 feet).

I don't know if that is true or not. I only just acquired my climber last spring and its planted beneath a trio of pitch pines. It has grown rather nicely in its current location, so I want to leave it there for now. If I don't get any blooms next year, I may try and divert the growth, to a protruding branch that is only about 8 feet from the ground so that it will finish climbing at 8 feet rather than 30'. I was also thinking of just pruning it a certain height to see if that promotes blooms. Anyone have experience in trying that?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2005 at 4:02PM
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That wives tale is absolutely NOT true.....yg

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 10:34AM
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I agree with YG, that is just another garden myth.
If you are planning it to be only 12' tall you are cheating yourself and will be looking for the CONSTANT pruning...and the more you prune it, the more it will grow.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 11:25AM
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hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

I think that in the Hydrangea Conference hosted by CANR in 2004 there was a talk given by someone who had some research about how climbing hydrangeas will flower best after they've "reached the top". And that you could trick them to think they've reached the top by training them somehow. All my information was second hand and I think it was Judith King who had also attended and who was giving the report about it somewhere. I don't have the impression that pruning it at a certain height is at all what was meant by tricking it to think it had reached the top.

I don't really know, and I have a very limited experience to draw on, but I wouldn't be betting against the idea.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 1:37PM
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I think the pertinent phrase here is "flower BEST after they've reached the top" as opposed to "not flowering at ALL until they've reached the top". The latter is the wives tale I was referring to. Mine hasn't reached the top of the oak tree trunk by far but it has bloomed. Certainly, many of the climbers on the sides of those old university walls are blooming beautifully and many have not reached the top. That it will bloom better or best with age and size is a prospect that I do not doubt and am in fact looking forward to......yg

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 3:14PM
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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

Oh good, I'm actually relieved to find out its an old wives tale. I really wasn't too keen on having to prune it or even try to divert the growth to trick it into thinking it had reached its maximum height. I'm happy to just let it meandre up the pine trees. I see lots of buds on it, I'm hoping thats a sign of flowers to come next spring.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2005 at 7:40PM
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Nope, those are new leaves or branchlets buds.
You can't see flower buds now, they will appear and be apparent only in mid-late spring.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2005 at 11:47AM
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softballkid4u(z7 VA)

Mines doing great, up against the brick house and growing about 8 years now. And this is the first year it has bloomed. its about 15' tall now and 5' wide.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 6:26PM
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I am interested in getting a climbing hydrangea to climb on the wooden fence in my yard. The fence gets a fair amount of sun and I think it would be an excellent spot for the hydrangea.

I wanted to hear from anyone if a wood fence is not a good support for it to climb on? Will the fence be enough to support the hydrangea? What happens when the fence eventually rots and has to be replaced? It is a fairly new fence but eventually they all do fall apart and I would hate to see a mature plant suffer at that point.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 10:02PM
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I would definitely stay away from the wooden fence. This plant at maturity is way too heavy and is not a plant that you want to transplant later if you don't absolutely have to. A mature solid tree, or side of a building, (brick and stone structures are probably best as it can do irreparable harm to wood siding) would be much better choices. I think they look fantastic growing up a fireplace chimney. If you search this site you might find the picture that Hayseedman posted a while back, of a beauty doing just that......yg

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 9:48AM
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This one is about 8-10 years old, planted on a SE side of the house and has to be hack back every three years in order to not let it damage shingles and obstruct second story windows.
No, it's not my garden :-(((

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 2:12PM
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Aaaah, nice...I rest my case. Perfect picture as always George, thanks.....yg

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 2:52PM
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Well that was very helpful! The picture said it all. I am going to have to rethink what would be an appropriate plant.

What a stunning garden that is and what a beautiful plant! Thank you for sharing both the information and photo.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2006 at 5:29PM
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dwk001(z5 IL)

Please excuse me if this has already been mentioned. Jleek and others, have your young climbing hydrangeas yet produced side shoots off the main vine that do not attach themselves to the climbing surface? These side shoots (or "adult" branches that lack attachment hairs) usually need to be at least several years old before flower buds form on them. The "juvenile" branches are those portions of the vine that attach themselves to the surface and increase the length of the vine; flower buds do not form on these sections. (You can see this very well in EGO45's stunning picture--the flowers are born on those "adult" branches that grow out away from his chimney.) So, if your 4-or-5-year-old vine doesn't yet have many several-year-old "adult" branches, that may be why it has not yet produced flowers.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 3:24PM
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tastefullyjulie(Lewiston, NY 6)

I have had a climbing hydrangea against the front of my brick house for 3 years (I believe it's called an "ice cap". Anyway, I have seen here that it doesn't need a trellis but mine won't climb up very well. It gets about 4-5 feet up and then it keeps slipping down. It has the white hairy "attacher things" (sorry, lack of better word) but they don't grip. Instead I end up with tons of growth around the bottom. I noticed at the end of last summer many leaves at the bottom were turning brown, I think it's because they're so crowded down there. Should I put in a trellis, or is there some other way to train it up the brick that I'm doing wrong? please help!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 9:13PM
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Wow, this gives me hope. I planted climbing hydrangea on either side of an arbor about four years ago and thought I should just about give up on it ever blooming, although it's been climbing nicely, especially in the last year or so. It's planted on the southeast corner of my house, in the shade of a fairly large tamarack, so I figured it was just getting too much shade. Glad to know I may only have to wait another year or two to see blooms!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2006 at 6:25PM
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I was looking of buying a climbing hydrangea for our lattice. I get mostly shade there. We are only going to live here for 3 more years and from what I have read, these take years to just get established. I want my lattice to be covered fairly quickly. How fast do these grow?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 3:37PM
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Ann_in_Houston(z9 Houston)

All of these posts about sun and climbing answer some of my questions, but I want to know if it is too hot here in Houston for them. Also, if they like to climb trees, but also like sun, how do they not get too little sun, climbing up an established tree?

    Bookmark   March 20, 2006 at 11:45PM
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sugar_magnolia(z6 Hamilton, NJ)

I planted three the same year and the one that grew very quickly and bloomed is in the sun, growing up the chimney on a west-facing side of the house. One that is under the shade of a Norway Maple must be moved as it seemingly hasn't grown at all. Caution -- they do not like to be moved.

I do not recommend growing up the side of the shed unless it is masonary. It can do too much damage to siding. It can also damage masonary that is not in good condition.

Climbing hydrangea can be grown on the ground, as an alternate.

To th woman looking for a fast growing vine, try bignonia perhaps. C.H. is fairly slow and may not give you what you are seeing in only 3 yrs.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2006 at 8:52PM
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what a beautiful picture! I'm sold. It's for my brick chimney. Just hack away when it reaches the clapboard? Also, when is the best time to plant and how far away from the house? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 6:54AM
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Hello Everyone. Is it too hot here in Mobile, Alabama to grow this hydrangea. We are in Zone 8 here..BTW, great photo...

    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 7:54AM
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jannabeen(z5 US/z6 Canada)

I planted a cl. hydrangea in partial shade several years ago after seeing on a garden tour a number of Toronto Island cottages literally covered with gorgeous blooms from this vine. It is certainly hardy and vigorous but very slow growing in Zone 5. I had blooms last year but it's still a pretty small plant.

If you are looking for a hardy fast-growing vine for shade try Virginia Creeper or Boston Ivy. These will cover anything in one or two seasons. No flowers but beautiful fall color.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 3:12PM
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I have a question about my climbing hydrangea. I have it planted in a huge pot, with a willow trellis for it to climb on. Well I brought it inside for the winter. Because I was afraid the pot would freeze & crack. Now I would like to put it outside again, do I have to prune it or do anything with it. It's just about a year old and 3 feet high. I'm not much of gardener, but I'm trying. Hydrangeas are just so beatiful! I don't want to kill it. If anyone has any suggestions at all that would help me out it would be of great help. For someone who doesn't really know alot about gardening. Thanks

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 11:26PM
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I have a number of climbing hydrangeas and "hydrangea" vines and have never pruned any. The common climbing hydrangea is such a slow grower, at least for the first few years, I can not imagine why you would want to cut it back.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 1:08PM
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hayseedman(z5/6 Ct.)

Dirr in his Manual of Woody Plants says that it's a zone 4-7(8) hardy plant, and then quickly adds that it doesn't do so well in the South.

I'd just slowly acclimate your potted hydrangea to the outside. No big deal. I'd also consider leaving it outside next time. You can take it out of the pot and bury the rootball in the ground and then mulch it. I overwinter potted plants like Boxwoods that spend the summer in pots byt digging them into a pile of bark mulch left over from thesummer. Saves the pot and keeps me from having to be concerned about watering or freezing.


This plant is so massive looking that you'd imagine some enormous chimney under all that. In the winter you'd see that it's just a little skinny chimney built out of what looks like concrete blocks. Just a couple feet square at the most. The laterals on the vine are enormous.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 9:48AM
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dogridge(7b nc)

Will CH stick to masonite type siding? It is quite smooth, but I'm hoping the hairs can cling on. Anyone with experience?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 9:00PM
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I have a 2 foot hydrangea and the new growth has developed dark spots, what is the cause of this and how do I care for the plant? It is in a sunny location and is presently in a pot.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 8:10PM
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