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Plant Profile: Climbing hydrangea

climbing hydrangea - Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris Botanical Name: Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris

Family: Hydrangeaceae

Type: Deciduous climbing vine

Size: Generally around 1500cm in height and 500cm in spread.

While hydrangeas are best known as big balls of blue to pink flowers on sturdy shrubs, this variety breaks from tradition, with soft lacy flowers that spread as a vine.

A native of the woodlands of Japan and coastal China, the climbing hydrangea features fragrant and showy creamy-white blooms during late spring to summer. It's delicate flowers attract several species of butterflies.

Its foliage is also an attractive addition to the garden, with glossy, heart-shaped leaves with cinnamon-coloured exfoliating bark.

Ideal Conditions

This climber needs strong structural support if it is to grow vertically, so it's best suited against a trellis, tree, or a stone or brick wall.

It does best in an area that receives full sun or partial shade, with rich, medium-wet soil. It requires fairly constant watering.


The climbing hydrangea can be hard to establish, but once it's on track it can grow fairly quickly and requires little maintenance.

It can be planted any time from spring, right through until autumn. It can be grown from either seed or cutting, but it is certainly a far quicker option to grow from a cutting.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH

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Last updated: June 2, 2004