Climbing Hydrangea on brick and mortar

kimcocoJuly 11, 2008

I'm considering this vine to plant along my driveway to climb up my house.

Do I need some sort of temporary support until it attaches?

Based on my research, this vine should not do any damage to my facade - please correct me if I am wrong.

I have only a small space to plant this in - an area probably 6-7" from my house to the driveway, but width wise there is plenty of room (the length of the house). I'm ASSUMING this will be a large enough area to support a root ball without damaging my foundation. Can anyone comment on this?

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

A hydrangea is not going to affect an normal foundation. It will stick to the bricks. Slowness to grab hold and take off is typical with this plant. However, later it will be likely to appear rather large and dominating. Expect to be doing some pruning and training to get the shape you want, within the space provided.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 3:59PM
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Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) will protrude 3-5 feet from the wall when mature. You can prune, but it won't get much more shallow and retain the play of light and shadow that makes this vine so beautiful.
Check out Schizophragma hydrangeoides another vine sometimes sold as Climbing Hydrangea. It is also beautiful and well behaved, but its growth habit is flatter. It will leave more room for a walkway.

All vines grow toward the sun and generally resist attaching to hot walls. You haven't described the site so I am assuming you have considered this. You wouldn't want to wait years only to have a permanently messy mounding shrub.

Both of these vines are, in my experience, safe for brick or stone walls. This assumes that the mortar is in good condition and free of crevices. If your mortar is crumbling or cracked, you should try to repair or repoint before growing any self-attaching vine. Also, it should be noted that when the vine matures, you will need to cut it away from gutters, soffits and the like.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2008 at 12:53AM
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Thanks for the advice, Julia.

I was wondering if it's easy to train the vine on which direction you'd like it to climb...once it starts to sucker of course.

I did purchase the Hydrangea anomala petiolaris variety. In the majority of the pictures I've seen, the base of the plant seems very leggy (once it has matured), unless of course it is trimmed back annually for more width at the base, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that once it takes off the majority of the outgrowth will be at a height that allows our vehicles to pass comfortably.

Unfortunately, I did plant it on a south facing wall, so it will get lots of sun. If all else fails, maybe I'll have to get one for the other side of the house. I'm so jealous of my neighbors who have several feet of planting area between their driveway and house, unlike the limited space we have to work with.

I constructed a makeshift trellis with bamboo sticks - I was hesitant to add a wrought iron trellis since it's likely I wouldn't be able to remove it once the vine begins to sucker.

Now I will have to sit, wait, and count the years. LOL

My uncle has one growing on his fence - been there about 5 years and only now it is just taking off, but it's quite lovely.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 5:11AM
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Sorry to say, but Hydrangea anomala petioaris does not twine around trellises. You could tie it to the trellis at various points, but it will never be self-supporting on a smooth surface like bamboo. It climbs by aerial rootlets which are generated by the friction of the vine against a rough, porous, occasionally moist surface. In addition to which, it is extremely heavy and carries even more weight in a snow or wind storm. Can't imagine a bamboo trellis that would hold it. Is the trellis a temporary training aid? When you remove it, why won't the hydrangea fall?

If I HAD to have that vine in that place, I would start next Spring by concentrating my efforts toward getting the vine to form rootlets attached to the brick. Stick the vine to the brick with metal clips, Wayward Vine discs, 3M Command adhesive strips, or bubble gum. Hose the wall down regularly to keep it moist and cool. Think of this as a hobby for the next few years.

Suckering doesn't usually occur until years after the vine is planted. Are you speaking of the aerial rootlets? To guide the vine in a direction, you have to prune out the unwanted woody branches. I'm discouraged about this as it takes a lot of pruning skill for the result to look natural. That may be why you have seen leggy ones. They shouldn't be leggy at all, but wider at the base because of the shoots that come from the base (the ones with the heaviest flowers). Are these shoots the suckers you are referring to?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2008 at 2:55PM
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I realize Hydrangea is not a twiner, but I needed something there to keep it against the house and off the driveway.

By suckering I was referring to the rootlets that are formed which attaches itself to the brick, which as you said will take a few years.

I was referring to these woody branches/canes:

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 1:46AM
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The woody branches and cane photos (last two) are Schizophragma hydrangeoides, the vine I recommended.

I see that the bamboo are trainers to get the vine to attach. This may work. But, I am concerned that the space is very narrow.

You might consider moving it to the other side of the house. Then again, I can't tell you how many times plant lust and determination overcame these little problems for me. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 5:03PM
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You hit the nail right on the head. I'm in complete denial. The entire time I'm reading about moving it to the other side of the house, I'm refusing to believe that I have to do that (though I realize you are probably very accurate in your predictions!). This could very well become yet another one of my "Duh" gardening moments to add to my list as in, "what was I thinking???" ..or, like you said, maybe determination is the key...LOL

This side of my house is sooooo boring...both my neighbors have a wide planting space, and mine is this teeny weeny section of soil that I have to play with. Arghhh!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 11:55PM
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