Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris - Climbing Hydrangea
Family: Hydrangeaceae

Hear the scientific name

Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris is a slow-growing, clinging and twining vine. It has dense, glossy foliage that gives a three-dimensional attribute to walls, columns, or other supportive structures due to its lateral branches that extend horizontally for a few feet beyond the supportive structure. Climbing Hydrangea has creamy-white flat-topped inflorescences in summer are an added bonus.

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  form Form

-primarily a large climbing vine; occasionally found as a slowly spreading groundcover, usually at the base of the existing vine, but sometimes planted specifically as a non-traditional groundcover

-maturing at up to 50' high, but often much shorter

either a twining and clinging vine growth habit, or an arching and mounding groundcover

-initially a very slow growth rate, but becoming medium to rapid once established

foliage Foliage

-medium to dark green and glossy on the leaf uppersides

-alternate, broadly ovate, with an acuminate apex and cordate base

-leaf blades are about 3" long, with 2" long petioles

-autumn color is a poor yellowish green in Oct. and Nov.


-a white outer ring of showy sterile florets surrounds the creamy to green-yellow, central, fertile flowers

-flat-topped 5" wide inflorescences flower in June and early July


-ornamentally insignificant brown capsules lie in a flat plane within the persistent outer ring of tan sterile floret remnants

-not especially showy, but the entire flat-topped fruiting structure is persistent into the following season


-young stout stems are a rich cinnamon color, exfoliating to show a light brown interior and having many aerial root holdfasts, while prominent buds are a shiny russet

-the curving vertical stems are complemented by many horizontally held stout stems, which give a three-dimensional effect to the structure that supports the vine

trunk Trunk

-exfoliating, light brown, and stoutly

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-full sun to full shade

-prefers moist, well-drained, rich, acidic soils in partial sun, but is somewhat adaptable to poor soils and neutral to slightly alkaline pH soils

-propagated by seeds, rooted stem cuttings, or transplanting of stems that have self-rooted while lying prostrate on the ground

-Hydrangea Family (some sources list it under Saxifragaceae), with few diseases or pests

-commonly available in container form as a young staked vine

-eventually needs some pruning to keep it restricted at its base if it is to be used exclusively as a vine

-if chlorosis of the leaves occurs, a fertilization regimen will likely remedy the plant's nutritional balance, which is probably caused by alkaline soil pH


-zones 5 to 8


-native to Japan and China

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-gives a three-dimensional effect to walls or posts due to its unique outstretched horizontal stems

-showy creamy-white summer flowers

-lustrous summer foliage

-shade-tolerant clinging and climbing vine


-very slow to establish

-somewhat open and informal as a vine (but if bold three-dimensional depth is desired for a structural support, this is a true asset)


-structural cover, primarily used with wooden posts, large trees, or stone walls

-rarely used as a groundcover


-bold texture in foliage and when bare

-open density in foliage and when bare

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Varieties and Cultivars - Search OSU PlantFacts for additional plants in this species


-perennial vines that may serve as a structural cover (Actinidia, Akebia quinata, Aristolochia durior, Campsis radicans, Clematis, Hedera helix, Wisteria sinensis, etc.)


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