Climbing hydrangeas

jane339April 11, 2013

I am growing a climbing hydrangea on my deck next to a trellis. I'm hoping it will spread on the trellis,but because I have to have it in a pot I'm wondering it it will survive the winter outdoors or what I can do to protect it.
I overwintered the plant on an unheated enclosed porch this winter I didn't even water it and it came back strong this spring. If it grows on the trellis,I'll have to keep it on the deck.

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Since no one else has answered yet, I'll jump in with my thoughts on this.

Can you possibly plant the climbing hydrangea in the ground? These plants may take 3 years to get "going", but grow to be huge over time ... 30-50 feet! A vine this size is equivalent to a small tree and, I believe, will need an adequate root system to support it. You'd need a rather large pot. However, since it is winter hardy to USDA Zone 4, you shouldn't have any trouble overwintering it in a container, as long as it is not subjected to repeated and extreme fluctuations in soil temperature (as in a dark pot absorbing the sun's heat on a mild winter day, followed by a severe cold spell). If the container is in the shade, no problem. If the container will be in the sun, I would protect it with mulch or some other means of insulating it from extreme temperature fluctuations - the root ball, not the vine.

I have a climbing hydrangea growing in my back/side yard, in dappled sunlight, and, after the initial slow growth phase while it was establishing its root system, it has been very vigorous, floriferous, and (I hope I'm not jinxing the plant, here) pest & disease free.

Missouri Botanical Garden has some good information on this plant; link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Missouri Botanical Garden: Climbing Hydrangea

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

I've posted a pic of my creeping hydrangea (5 years old) that is running up an 80' red oak. Pic can be found on Gardening in the Shade forum on gardenweb.

Take it out of the pot and find a place to plant and let it go.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:24AM
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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

They do become massive plants. Rarefind Nursery may be offering the extraordinary sort from Skylands Estate in the Ramapo Mts. of N. Jersey. A particularly nice flower.
Both Skylands and Rarefind are great places to visit.
While I have never seen flowers, the vine Schizophragmae 'Moonlight' is very beautiful, and may grow not so big.
Hope I spelled it correctly.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 11:09PM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Here's my current one - while this is last year, viewing it this year, it's climbed nearly 30' with one of the vines veering right on the first major branch.

I'm just happy to know that it will not affect this 80' oak as to insects, blight, etc.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Thank you for your posts. I have to have the plant on a deck because there is a 2 foot drop off the deck behind the trellis with no sun on the other side below the deck. This does look like an imposing vine once it gets going. Any other suggestion for a vine to grow on a trellis with dappled sunshine.I would prefer some flowers.
Glad to know that it will winter in the pot if I decide to give it a try.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 1:14PM
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Most perennial or woody vines will only produce flowers for 4-6 weeks, at most, so choose something that will please you even when not in bloom. Consider the shape, texture and color of the foliage. If you want summer-long blooms, then you might have to go with some kind of annual vine. Look into coral honeysuckle, lonicera sempervirens. This is a native American honeysuckle, not the invasive Japanese honeysuckle. Mine blooms from spring until frost - the buds are coloring up now. It is attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds.

Don't worry about the shade alongside the deck; most plants prefer having their roots shaded anyway. It's the leaves that need the sun.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 6:09PM
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msbumble(z6 NJ)

After year 3 or 4 the climbing hydrangea will start to grow quickly into a heavy plant with a sizable trunk. Mine pulled down the trellis we attached it to. I actually like your idea of confining it to a pot if you're willing to take it out every couple of years and trim the roots, treating it like a bonsai. Even if the trunk is kept short you will have younger, flexible branches coming up that you can allow to climb. It's worth a try!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Thanks msbumble.
I like your info about trimming the roots every couple of years. I was worried after reading about the rapid growth of this vine that it would pull down the trellis that my son built for us.
Ant particular method of trimming the roots?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:17PM
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I saw a response from a gardener that had an 80' oak covered in a hydrangea vine. I have a similar sized one on my side yard facing the street. I want to plant a climbing hydrangea there but was unsure of how it would take to the pin oak base. Do you build up a bed around the trunk? The tree is in a lawn setting. I've only ever grown CH in a bed in a pampered, shady areaâ¦just wasn't sure how resilient it would be.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2014 at 5:54AM
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Birdsong72(7/Northshore NJ)

Dunedog. My creeping hydrangea (see above pic in an earlier post) is planted no more than 2' from the base of that white oak. One need not build a box or anything, though that oak is in a naturalized contiguous bed. So if you're trying to plant a climber and you have grass nearby, you're going to have make some accomodation for the hydrangea (i.e turnover the soil and with that, you're dealing with compacted soil which is going to inhibit root growth).

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:52AM
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