How to grow climbing hydrangea

How to grow climbing hydrangea

BKKM/Getty Images

Hydrangea is the undisputed queen of the southern garden. Whether you grow large, clustered, smooth, or oak-leafed, a well-cared-for hydrangea will give you lots and lots of gorgeous blooms all season long. Looking across a yard at a bank of hydrangea bushes in full bloom is certainly a sight to behold, but consider looking up at the climbing hydrangea, a flowering vine that produces clusters of white, lace-capped flowers. Using the suckers on the branches, the climbing hydrangea will scale walls and other structures, sometimes reaching 50 feet or more in length at maturity.

Where and how to grow

Climbing hydrangea vines can climb tree trunks, sturdy trellises, trellises and fences. Vines get large and heavy over time, so make sure the host structure can support the weight of the vines and that the structure isn’t something (such as the siding of a clapboard house) that might rot or need replacing or repainting. Plants can also be pruned to maintain a shrub-like shape. Climbing hydrangeas can also be used as ground covers, rooting where the suckers come into contact with the ground and filling in the area. Some gardeners like to use climbing hydrangea as a ground cover in their moon gardens. Here’s another reason you’ll love climbing hydrangeas: They’re salt-tolerant plants that are very popular in coastal communities. Vines usually don’t bloom until they are three to five years old, so be patient.

a light

Climbing hydrangea is one of the few shade-tolerant flowering vines. In hot climates, choose a location where the plant gets partial shade. In cool areas of the South, the vine usually does well in sunny areas, if watered adequately. Climbing hydrangeas that get more sun tend to flower better.

Soil, feed and water

Climbing hydrangea needs rich, moist, well-drained soil. If your soil needs improvement, mix in a generous amount of compost before planting. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to help retain water in the ground around the root zone and reduce weeds. Fertilize this plant in the spring before the leaves begin to bud. Granular fertilizers with a high phosphorus content will create beautiful flowers. Fertilize again after the flowers bloom in the summer. As with other hydrangeas, this species likes constantly moist soil. Place it where it is watered about an inch per week, or even in hot weather. An interesting side note about the word hydrangea: Greek root HydroRefers to water, and angeon It comes from the Greek for “ship.”

Temperature and humidity

Hardy in USDA plant zones 5 through 7, this plant does well in moderate climates but may wilt in hot, humid conditions. It can be damaged by sunburn and prefers daytime temperatures around 70 degrees F and nighttime temperatures around 60 degrees. Buds will not set unless temperatures have been below 65 degrees for six weeks. A sudden frost may damage the buds and you may not see flowers the following year.

See: Essential Southern Plant: Hydrangea


As noted above, newly planted climbing hydrangeas are slow to grow and slow to flower. However, once plants are established, climbing hydrangea tends to be vigorous growers, and may need pruning in the summer to keep it under control, depending on where it grows, if desired.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply