Common names: climbing hydrangea Swedish name: klätterhortensia
Hydrangea is a genus of 70-75 species of flowering plants native to southern and eastern Asia and the Americas. Most common form are shrubs but some are small trees or lianas climbing up trees. They can be either deciduous or evergreen. Cultivated species are all deciduous. Several Hydrangea spieces are old plants – 50 million year old fossils of seeds have been found in the western US. Hydrangea petiolaris is native in Japan, Korea and Sakhalin. Where it grows up trees and rock faces, climbing with small aerial roots on the stems.
Description: Hydrangea petiolaris is a deciduous woody climbing vine plant. With flat white flower heads. The center core of subdued, fertile flowers is surrounded by outer rings of showy, sterile flowers. The fruit is a dry urn-shaped capsule containing several small winged seeds. It is a plant with year-round interest. Beautiful foliage and blossom. The leaves turn yellow in the autumn. The dried flowers stay on the plant during the winter giving it a decorative value. Flowers can be used in arrangements both fresh and dried. Hydrangea petiolaris attracts bees, butterflies and birds.
How to grow: Hydrangea petiolaris is a useful low-maintenance climber for a shady garden area for example a north wall. It is at its best where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade, but it works well in dense shade. If grown with consistently moist soils it can tolerate the full sun. Best grown in rich, fertile, moist but well-drained soils. It usually is used climbing on fences, walls or trellis but can also be used as a ground cover. Slow to establish, but quite vigorous thereafter. Propagate by seeds or stem cuttings. Pruning is not required but possible.
Plants may have different organs or tools for climbing. It is interesting to look at the climbing parts and as a gardener or house owner it is good to know since some plants can be destructive. Therefore not recommended to grown on a wall of a house or a valuable structure. Some will need more support than others to grow appropriate. There are two main groups of climbing plants true climbers and trellis plants. The big difference is that true climbers have the capacity to climb with out support by attaching to the surface. Whereas trellis plants need constant support to climb otherwise they will fall to the ground or at least start to hang down.
- Trellis plants Rosa sp. climbers and ramblers, Lathyrus sp., Clematis sp. all annual climbing plants
- True climbers Hedera sp., Hydrangea petiolaris, Euonymus fortunei, Parthenocissus sp. and Campsis sp.
It is the true climbers you may have to be careful growing against your house. Depending on the walls condition and material. The trellis plants do no harm but make sure they get enough water. Do plant them at least half a meter from the house.
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