Finding The Right Climbing Hydrangea For My Yard

broken tree with tall trunk
Eye sore, tree trunk

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have a big, unsightly tree trunk in my yard.  Instead of having it cut down I would like to use it to support a climbing shrub.  And what better climbing shrub to choose than a hydrangea.

Yes, hydrangeas will climb.  But don’t picture a tall vine covered with big blue flowers – that is not what the climbing type will look like.  In fact, I am quite unfamiliar with climbing hydrangeas, so I’ve had to do some research.

I live in planting Zone 5, or 5a, in southern New Hampshire (view the hardiness zone map).  Knowing your zone when searching for a new type of plant to purchase is a good idea.  The nursery I visit will only offer plants that will grow in my zone, but how will I know which one to buy if I don’t research them first.  I like to have an idea of what I am looking for when spending big amounts of money on a shrub that will (hopefully) last for many years.

Who knows, maybe I will only have one type to choose from when I visit the nursery.  The one that I keep seeing is the Petiolaris which has white flowers if grown in sunlight.  It is hardy into Zone 4 so it would obviously do well in my yard.  As with most hydrangeas, it will grow in shade, but may not bloom very profusely without sun.  I also may have a problem with it trying to cling to a relatively smooth tree trunk.  As I have said, it’s an experiment.  In reading about this type of climber, I will have to wait a couple of years for it to really take off and climb.

The Petiolaris is a Climbing Hydrangea

Hydrangea petiolaris photo by Bruger:Sten
Image via Wikipedia

I am unfamiliar with the climbing form of hydrangea, or at least I was before I researched it for this blog post.  I will be moving soon into a house of my own where I plan to do lots of gardening so I need to know what is available for my area of the country.  I live in growing zone 5 so my plants have to be able to withstand cold and lots of snow cover.  Always check before you buy plants online to make sure they are suitable for your area.

The petiolaris, or climbing hydrangea plant, can be used as a ground cover as well as a climber.  The blooms are white and lacey looking and show up around the month of June and the leaves are heart-shaped and green.  If you want this flowering vine to climb, then plant it near a sturdy structure that will be able to bear the weight of the full grown bush which can be up to 50 feet in height… yikes!  That is big, so think long term when planting this one.  It likes shade or semi-shaded areas which is good to know since my new yard will be surrounded by trees and I’m assuming will be quite shady most of the day.

I like the idea of planting it to cover an unsightly tree stump (I have a tall one in my new yard) or some other part of the yard that isn’t very nice looking.  According to what I’ve read, it takes a year or two to get established and then it takes off and grows like crazy.

Scroll down this page at Dave’s Garden site and read what people who are growing this plant have to say.

Check with local nurseries to purchase.

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