Climbing Hydrangea Care

Learning to care for climbing hydrangea is not very difficult, and the result is a stunning plant that is useful both as a climbing vine and a groundcover for shaded areas and slopes. Although climbing hydrangeas are self-attaching to vertical surfaces, they required a sturdy support.

Climbing Hydrangea For Your Landscape
Variety: Common name Hydrangea anomala
Zones: 4 to 7
Soil Type: Organically rich, well-drained soil
Soil pH: 5.5 to 7.5
Sunlight: Full sun to part shade

  • Availability: Sold as nursery grown starter plants. When buying plants, look for healthy foliage with no signs of damage or disease. As climbing hydrangeas are slow to establish, look for the largest plants available.
  • When to plant: Nursery grown climbing hydrangea can be planted most any time of the year after the danger of frost has passed. Your plants will get the best start if planted in early summer or early fall. If your climbing hydrangea plants are placed in mid summer, they must be monitored carefully and not allowed to dry out.
  • Planting Method: Position your climbing hydrangea in a well drained area where it has plenty of room to grow. While these plants prefer some shade during the day, they have more tolerance for sun in cooler climate zones. Climbing hydrangeas can grow up to 50' long, so careful planning is required. If you have to have your hydrangea climb a structure such as a trellis or arbor, make sure it is of sturdy construction.
  • To plant, dig a hole three times wider than the container your climbing hydrangea came in, but no smaller than 3' in diameter. The planting hole should be as deep as you plant's container. Remove your plant from its container and place it in the hole. Replace the dirt so that the soil reaches the same level as that of the plant.
  • Watering: Climbing hydrangeas require a consistent moisture level of 1" per week. Supplement rainwater to maintain this level and make sure your plants are properly watered during periods of drought.
  • Fertilizing: Feed your climbing hydrangeas with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the late spring and mid summer. Avoid feeding after August, as your hydrangeas will be entering their dormant period as fall progresses.


  • Root Rot: Plant will yellow and wither from this condition. Root rot is caused by over watering or poor drainage. Make sure plants are placed in well-drained soil and understand the watering needs of specific plants.


  • Aphids: Small, soft-bodied insects that suck moisture from plants. Ladybugs are a great way to control aphids. Consider insecticidal soaps as an alternative to pesticides.
  • Spider Mites: Tiny cousins of spider and scorpions, spider mites may appear red to brown or yellow to green. Spider mites damage leaf cells as they suck moisture from them. Plants infested by spider mites may have brown or tan speckled leaves. Ladybugs are a natural predator of spider mites. Sharp blasts of water from a hose can dislodge spider mites and insecticidal soaps can be effective as well.

Propagation: Climbing hydrangeas are propagated from cuttings. For best results, begin cutting in the early summer. To create new plants from your hydrangea, take a cutting with three leaf nodes from a stem that didn't produce blooms this year. Remove the leaves from the lower two leaf nodes. Dip cutting in rooting hormone and pot in a mixture of vermiculite and sand. Water well and cover with clear plastic, making sure the plastic doesn't come in contact with the cutting's leaves. Water when top of soil becomes dry. Cuttings should begin to root in two to three weeks.

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