Hydrangea Species, 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
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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:

Unknown - Tell us

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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Boulder Creek, California(2 reports)

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

Skokie, 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

Pownal, Maine

Ellicott City, Maryland

Pasadena, Maryland

Danvers, Massachusetts

Dracut, Massachusetts

Foxboro, Massachusetts

Marshfield, Massachusetts

Mashpee, Massachusetts

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Springfield, Massachusetts

Allen Park, Michigan

Bay City, 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

Long Branch, New Jersey

Wyckoff, New Jersey

Croton On Hudson, New York

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

West Chester, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Edgefield, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Bristol, Tennessee

Culleoka, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

South Jordan, Utah

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 13, 2017, ScouterRob from Skokie, IL wrote:

Your posting on the Climbing Hydrangea was very helpful, and good timing! I planted my CH over 3 years ago and have been a little disappointed. I planted it with a metal trellis across the fence from my then current neighbors 60 ft Ulmus rubra (Slippery Elm). The tree is a menace and drops loads of seed and sticks in my yard. I was hoping my CH would cover the tree and make it more tolerable. It started off slow the first year, but show signs of getting established. It continued to climb my trellis slowly, but after 3 season, only 5 feet high and 4 feet wide, only one blossom, and it was small. Your contributors comments give me hope for this Spring. Now knowing that it is one the cusp of major growth and I should see more a load of flowers soon, I cant wait. My neighbor has s... read more


On Jul 14, 2015, francesseth from Evanston, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I planted a Climbing Hydrangea about 6 or 7 years ago to the side of our front door. The house is brick and the area is in open shade most of the time. It took about 4 years to get to around 5 feet with only one bloom. However, in the three years since, it has bloomed all the way up to the edge of the roof (2-story house). It is beautiful.


On Apr 6, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is one of the best, most useful and beautiful climbers. It is tough, adaptable, and very tolerant of shade.

It is not for the impatient. Under good conditions, it will spend three or more years putting down roots before it decides to start growing upwards. Once it does, it grows quickly.

It climbs by rootlike holdfasts, like English or Boston ivy, which do no damage to tree trunks or masonry but can damage the surface of wooden siding and impede painting or staining. It may be necessary to tie or glue it to the surface initially, but once it gets the idea, it climbs well. Once it has a deep well-established root system, you can cut it back hard or even to the ground if needed for wall maintenance or plant renewal. Regrowth is fast.

In time,... read more


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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 win... read more


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.
... read more


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, sti... read more


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.... read more


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.
... read more


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.


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.


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 ... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.