How to Grow a Climbing Hydrangea Vine

You may think you know every type of hydrangea, but have you ever heard of a climbing hydrangea? See if this flowering vine is good for your yard.

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If you love the beauty of hydrangea bushes in bloom, a climbing hydrangea vine might sound like your dream come true! Find you how to care for this vining plant and see if it’s a good choice for your landscape.

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Climbing Hydrangea Care

climbing hydrangeaVia Merchant
A climbing hydrangea produces white lacecap blooms on leafy vines
  • Common name: Climbing hydrangea
  • Scientific name: Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris
  • Zones: 4 to 8
  • Light needs: Full sun to partial shade, dislikes heat and humidity
  • Water needs: Water deeply and regularly until established
  • Soil: Rich, well-draining soils
  • Size: 30 to 60 feet long, 5 to 6 feet wide

Climbing hydrangeas start out slow and shrubby. Be patient. Once established, they grow vigorously—one plant can rapidly cover a multi-story house or structure. Depending on your viewpoint, this can be a positive or a negative trait. In the right conditions, the vines can exceed 30 feet in length. Though fast-growing, they are not considered to be invasive. Avoid applying high nitrogen fertilizers that encourage stem growth but discourage flowering.

Look for vigorous green foliage and white lacecap flower clusters in May, June or July, similar to other types of hydrangeas. Like bigleaf and mountain hydrangeas, they bloom on old wood. Yellow foliage and reddish peeling bark offer fall and winter interest.

In order to keep vining plants like climbing hydrangeas looking great, use pole pruners for hard-to-reach spaces. Learn when to prune hydrangeas for big, showy blooms.

These plants offer a striking solution for unappealing fences and bare exterior walls. With their clinging habit, climbing hydrangea vines don’t need a trellis for support. The roots will not damage brick, wood or other building materials. Lush leafy vines provide cooling shade in summer; after the leaves fall off, the sun’s warmth shines through.

According to North Carolina State Extension, these plants are native to Japan, Korea and China. They dislike intense heat and humidity and will benefit from afternoon shade in southern growing zones.

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Other Varieties to Grow

false hydrangea vineVia Proven Winners -
Flirty Girl false hydrangea vine

Hydrangea barbara, another vining plant commonly known as climbing hydrangea, is native to the southeastern United States, but it is only cold hardy to planting zone 6. Schizophragma hydrangeoides, known as false hydrangea vine or Japanese hydrangea vine, is faster to get established and produce flowers.

Next, discover hydrangea facts that even expert gardeners don’t know.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.