Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Climbing Hydrangea
Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris

Family: Hydrangeaceae (hy-drain-jee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hydrangea (hy-DRAIN-juh) (Info)
Species: anomala subsp. petiolaris

Synonym:Hydrangea petiolaris

» View all varieties of Hydrangeas

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

35 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

30-40 ft. (9-12 m)
over 40 ft. (12 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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14 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral catkno On Mar 31, 2012, catkno from Evansville, IN wrote:

I bought this plant 2 years ago, it has buds and lookes like it will flower my problem is it has no desire to cling to the wood shed it is against, it is leaning out toward the yard instead.

Positive EJHammer On Jun 21, 2011, EJHammer from Chelsea, MI wrote:

We planted this about 5 or 6 years ago, from a 1 gallon pot. The first couple of years were lackluster, but since then it has taken off and now covers completely a trellis approx. 6 ft. wide and 7 ft. high, in shaded western exposure under the drip line of a large black walnut (zone 5 or 6). Therein is the question--the trellis is about 1 ft. out from a plain barn wall, that is about 25 ft. high (two full stories). If we let it, the hydrangea would grow to cover the wall, which would be lovely--but, because it would attach to the wall, would create problems down the road with maintenance.

How much damage might the plant do to the wooden wall? How would we manage future painting of the wall (just was painted about 2 years ago--next paint job a decade away, at least, probably by next owner) If we just continue to prune, as we did last year, how do we manage the natural growth that will now be limited to the trellis space? If we extend the trellis in some fashion, either up or out, these issues would only be delayed a couple of years or so, but not resolved. We really like this plant, it is perfect for the location now--but help is needed to assure its continued existence and our continued comfort with it.

Neutral rfalkow On Aug 11, 2010, rfalkow from Palo Alto, CA wrote:

My back yard neighbor is building a new house and is putting up a new fence. My fear is that my hydrangea will not recover from the shock of removing it from the fence that is being replaced.

Positive twogoldies On Jun 10, 2010, twogoldies from Lost City, WV wrote:

I live in eastern WV in Zone 6 1/2. I planted climbing hydrangea on the east side of my cedar home over a decade ago and it has grown into a spectacular specimen.

The original planting went up a stone chimney but has since spread out over the cedar.

My question is whether the rootlike holdfasts that attach the vine might damage the cedar.

I could cut it back off the cedar to contain it to the stone or just leave it on the cedar, assuming the holdfasts will not do serious damage to the wood.

Any suggestions and/or recommendations are most welcome. I really don't want to cut it back, but also don't want to deal with large scale damage to my siding.

Positive myriban On Mar 24, 2010, myriban from Northeast region, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

We're in NJ (zone 6b). In summer of 2003 I planted two 1 gallon climbing hydrangea plants in a shaded area against a 5' tall fence underneath the overhang of some white pine trees from an adjacent yard. They truly didn't begin to grow and bloom till last summer. Now they have totally filled in two widths of fencing (approx. 16') and are now looking to grow along the ground of the bed in front of them. While it took a while for them to establish themselves - I would do it again. I'm going to try our luck on north facing walls by our front door. Think I'll start off with bigger specimens though. I'd like them to grow up over the top of the door. I am hopeful that the beautiful peeling bark of the vines will look pretty in conjunction with 2 established Blue Princess Hollies during the winter months. Will keep you posted! :-)

Positive lee_ro On May 26, 2007, lee_ro from Raleigh, NC wrote:

When I moved into my current townhouse I was thrilled to discover I had inherited many beautiful shrubs such as Climbing Hydrangea in my small but lovely yard. It's gnarled branches and neat, shiny, healthy leaves add character and interest to my backyard. And I'm a sucker for vertical height! I wish I could know for sure how old my Climbing Hydrangea is; it is definitely established as it has climbed to the top of the fence supporting it (which is about 7ft high) and is firmly attached to the fence. Since it has no more fence to climb I wonder if it will get any higher. It does not seem to have gotten taller in the year or so since I've been here, but it has lots of little runner babies coming up out of the ground that are starting to cover my patio with a lush blanket of leaves.

Early last summer my poor Climbing Hydrangea was mercilessly attacked by japanese beetles, and the spray I used on it caused it to lose all of it's leaves up towards the top of the plant (where the beetles had settled in). It has come back with a vigor, but it's almost japanese beetle time here again in Raleigh, NC. Here's hoping the beetle bags around my yard will help!

Positive WUVIE On Nov 9, 2006, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

I will begin this post as a positive rather than a neutral,
even though I just added a Climbing Hydrangea to my
garden. As time goes by, I will add to the post with

At present, I rescued a one gallon C.H. from a fall
clearance sale. I was most inspired by the fact that
even though it was stripped of it's leaves, there were
numerous buds up and down the branches bursting
with energy. I bought the poor thing and brought it
home to an immediate soaking. Tomorrow I will repot
it, as it appears to be very root bound in the small pot.

To be continued...dated this 9th day of November, 2007.

Edited February 15, 2007. The plant is still in the pot,
still in the greenhouse, still looking much like it did when
I brought it home. The buds are slightly larger, but not
willing to open. Perhaps it is just waiting for the right

Be patient, spring is coming, then we'll move outdoors.

Positive ifonly On Jun 18, 2006, ifonly from Brookfield, CT wrote:

A stunner at last - planted 8 or so years ago to clothe a white pine with split trunk that's bare for the first 35 feet. Well no more! After planting, it sat and it sat. And then the magic happened.

Today this wonderful plant is at least 25 feet tall - it grows 2 - 3 feet a year in full afternoon sun. Because it is on two trunks, it is very broad and its horizontal branches add even more breadth. Fragrance is incredible, scenting the nearby patio and beyond. The outer petals of these 10 inch flowers last a long while. I love the flower head after the bloom is done and the exfoliating bark is pretty terrific in winter.

Lower branches spread over the ground, rooting as they go. This year I potted one up and it seems quite happy - gifts for friends.

Truly a magical vine.

If only I had a digital camera so you could see.

Feeling a little Jack and the Beanstalker-ish here in CT.

Positive TBGDN On Mar 24, 2006, TBGDN from (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is one of those pre-planned projects which began about six or seven years ago with a specific goal in mind. The project involved a huge white oak tree on the north lawn over 4 feet in diameter, and about 60 feet tall. Unfortunately the trunk was bare almost 20 feet up to its lateral branches, and I often thought it would look good with a strong perennial ivy or other hardy vine to give it some added character. That's where Hydrangea petiolaris comes in: I found a healthy looking plant in a large nursery growing in a gallon container. After reading the label I was somewhat disappointed to see the words 'slow growing until well established'. Undaunted I bought it and the rest is history. Today it is roughly 15-18 feet high, and has nearly surrounded the tree up to eye-level.

Although it is slow growing initially, it makes fairly good progress after 3 or 4 years. It has exfoliating bark which adds to its appeal, and dark green glossy leaves which are attractive. The flowers remind me somewhat of 'Queen Ann's Lace' on a vine, only much larger. It is a very tough, undemanding vine and has survived severe cold (-20F), as well as very hot dry summers.

Positive gardenermaid On Oct 1, 2004, gardenermaid from Bellaire, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

The library in our town, from which I have just been given permission to take cuttings, has it growing on the north wall. It is climbing maybe 15-20 feet, which is much higher than the description here says it grows. It is absolutely beautiful.

Positive debi_z On Aug 19, 2004, debi_z from Springfield, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

i bought mine as a a gallon plant @ a local nursery and planted it in the spring of 2002. the first year i got blooms, just a few and i cut them off, to allow all the energy to go to the root system. the plant had minimal growth above ground.
the 2nd year, 2003, i had a few more blooms and the plant grew 5-6 inches and a few new shoots.
the 3rd year, 2004, she has taken off. she is growing along the ground, new runners are forming and i know i have to find a way to attach her to the large maple tree, an old 6' fence post, and the new stockade fence, that i planted her inbetween. won't it look lovely, with her green glossy leaves and white flowers. they are said to grow up to 30 ft.

Positive jaredwp On Jul 16, 2004, jaredwp from Brogue, PA wrote:

The climbing hydrangea is a fantastic specimen. I have rooted the hydrangea from a clipping three years ago. The first two years were very slow growing, and had no blooms. The third year this plant has taken hold very well. I now have a great specimen growing on brick, in the full sun. I'm hoping to get a few blooms this year, or the next. The one thing that I have noticed is that it is getting some kind of white fuzzy insect that attaches to the woody growth. It kind of resembles a wooly adelgid(an aphid like insect that is attacking eastern hemlocks in pa), but is much larger and has an insect hidden in the center of the "fuzz". At this time I am not sure what the "insect" is or how to control it. Despite this attack on the plant, I love my climbing hydrangea and recommend this plant to any gardener. If you have a friend that has one, ask them if you can have a clipping. Or clip a branch, that has rooted from the base, and take it home to plant. An excellent specimen.

Update to "Insect that has inhabited my Climbing Hydrangea".

I have since found out through going to my local garden center, and reading through "Insects That Feed on Trees and Shrubs", that Cottony scales or Mealybugs were the culprits. I have since sprayed the Hydrangea with Safer Insect Killer and annihilated the insects. I am pretty sure that the insect was a Cottony Camellia Scale because one of the plants it usually attacks is the hydrangea, and also the description in my books. But if it wasn't this the Safer spray still kills mealybugs, and scale.

Happy Gardening

Positive roseofkaren On Jul 3, 2004, roseofkaren from Palatine, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

We added this plant in 2001. It has only gotten 2-3 blooms per year, the first year it grew about 6", but has added at least 15" in growth per year the past two years. It is shaded most of the day here, but gets afternoon sun. It's clinging to the brick wall and climbing up the trellis.

Positive Shirley1md On May 22, 2004, Shirley1md from Ellicott City, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a magnificent shrubby vine that has lace cap type of lovely white blossoms. This decidous vine grows best in a moist area that receive pt. sun. It clings to surfaces by aerial roots and can be quite vigorous, if it is happy with its growing conditions. However, patience is required with this vine, since it is slow to establish and can take 5 yrs. or more to bloom.

Positive JBest On May 30, 2003, JBest from Clairton, PA wrote:

Planted two years ago and gave it a trellis and the brick on the house to support it. It has full afternoon sun and is growing beautifully. I constantly direct new branches upward and have trimmed very few branches off of it. As yet, it has not produced any flowers. I am going to prune more often to see if it will produce flowers. The leaves are a glossy green and so healthy looking. They stay that way all summer. I love it.
It is fast growing and lovely. I plan to use some of the curved branches for my Ikebana arrangements.

Positive lupinelover On Jan 20, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This vine took 4 years to become fully established in my garden, but has since grown significantly. It has definitely been worth the wait. The key seemed to be finding a way to attach it to its support, a large oak tree. Once it had grabbed hold, its growth was good. Side-shoots have developed, making a good groundcover as they seek new supports.

Neutral Terry On Mar 9, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The heart-shaped leaves are a dead giveaway it's a hydrangea. The literature says it's slow-growing until established, then undergoes rapid growth (18" or more each year.) Forms beautiful white "lace-cap" blossoms on mature specimen. Pruning will produce larger flowers, while no pruning will produce more, smaller flowers.

I purchased a small plant last year; kept it potted up for the first growing season, and recently planted it in its permanent location. Hoping to get good growth next year.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Boulder Creek, California
Clayton, California
Crockett, California
Palo Alto, California
Santa Rosa, California
West Point, California
Denver, Colorado
Brookfield, Connecticut
Dover, Delaware
Atlanta, Georgia
Conyers, Georgia
Elburn, Illinois
Kankakee, Illinois
Libertyville, Illinois
Momence, Illinois
Palatine, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois
River Forest, Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Evansville, Indiana
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Kouts, Indiana
Macy, Indiana
South Bend, Indiana
Barbourville, Kentucky
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Nicholasville, Kentucky
Ellicott City, Maryland
Pasadena, Maryland
Danvers, Massachusetts
Dracut, Massachusetts
Foxboro, Massachusetts
Marshfield, Massachusetts
Mashpee, Massachusetts
Nantucket, Massachusetts
Springfield, Massachusetts
Allen Park, Michigan
Bellaire, Michigan
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Columbiaville, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Franklin, Michigan
Lake Orion, Michigan
Plymouth, Michigan
Thompsonville, Michigan
Trout Creek, Michigan
Lakeville, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Helena, Montana
Omaha, Nebraska
Reno, Nevada
Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire
Munsonville, New Hampshire
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Wilmot, New Hampshire
Lanoka Harbor, New Jersey
Wyckoff, New Jersey
Fulton, New York
Jefferson, New York
Staten Island, New York
Chapel Hill, North Carolina (2 reports)
Raleigh, North Carolina
, Nova Scotia
Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
Cincinnati, Ohio
Conneaut, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Portland, Oregon
Salem, Oregon
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Brogue, Pennsylvania
Clairton, Pennsylvania
Kintnersville, Pennsylvania
Mercer, Pennsylvania
Morrisville, Pennsylvania
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Edgefield, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Bristol, Tennessee
Culleoka, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
Arlington, Vermont
Salisbury, Vermont
Alexandria, Virginia
Chantilly, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia (2 reports)
Lexington, Virginia
Oakton, Virginia
Saltville, Virginia
Eatonville, Washington
Freeland, Washington
Highland, Washington
Lake Forest Park, Washington
Langley, Washington
Sequim, Washington
Yakima, Washington
New Lisbon, Wisconsin
Presque Isle, Wisconsin

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