Climbing Hydrangea Sleep, Creep and Leap

Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp petiolaris) is an interesting flowering vine in that there is likely no upper size to which it will grow.

This can be one monstrous plant if allowed to develop.

Climbs Anything

It never met a tree or wall it didn't like to climb and having seen some that reach into the 60' tall range in full flower, I can tell you they are spectacular while in bloom.

It grows in full sun to part shade and seems to grow best in part shade.

hydrangea petiolaris

Climbing Hydrangea used as ground cover

Hardiness Of Climbing Hydrangea

It is hardy from USDA zones 4 through 7 (warmer climates don't give it the dormancy it wants to create flower buds).

It holds onto structures by twining as well as rootlike holdfasts that attach themselves to almost any roughened surface.

Takes Time To Develop

Climbing hydrangea is a slow plant to establish itself.

The old nursery line that "it sleeps, it creeps, it leaps" applies to this plant very well. Once the roots are established, (and this can take several years) it will grow very quickly. I regularly get queries asking why this plant doesn't grow well after 2-3 years and the answer is always the same, "Wait and did you plant it properly in good soil?"

Start putting several shovels full of compost around the base around the plant every spring.

The white flowers start in late June to early July and last for 2-3 weeks before browning.

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Big Hole

You'll want to install this vine in your best soil. It wants a very fertile soil, high in organic matter, well-drained with no standing water.


You can propagate climbing hydrangea by cuttings but it is not easy – get growth before the stems turn brown.

Good seed germinates reliably and you'll get some as soon as you have flowers.

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