How to Grow Climbing Hydrangeas


Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) is an attractive, hardy vine that produces large and fragrant white blooms from late spring to mid-summer. This plant easily attaches itself to brick, wood and even vinyl siding and can grow 50 to 80 feet tall. Climbing hydrangea vines grow slowly at first, but typically start to grow quickly after two or three growing seasons. The leaves drop in winter, leaving behind eye-catching brownish-red bark.

Step 1

Prepare the planting location by removing all grass and weeds. Loosen the soil to a depth of 5 inches and remove any rocks large enough to interfere with planting. Amend the soil with a 2- to 3-inch layer of organic compost.

Step 2

Dig a hole that is the same diameter and depth as the container in which the climbing hydrangea is growing.

Step 3

Remove the climbing hydrangea from its planting container. Loosen any compacted roots with your fingers.

Step 4

Place the hydrangea carefully into the hole and backfill with soil. Tamp the soil down well with your fingers to remove any air pockets around the roots.

Step 5

Water the climbing hydrangea until the soil is very moist but not soggy.

Step 6

Lay down a 2-inch layer of organic mulch around the vine to control weeds and seal in moisture during the hot summer months.

Step 7

Water regularly during the growing season, any time material from the top 1 inch of soil does not stick to your finger when you probe it. Moisture is especially important the first year after planting a climbing hydrangea.

Step 8

Add another 2-inch layer of organic mulch in late fall to help protect the plant during the winter.

Step 9

Fertilize the climbing hydrangea once in early spring with granular fertilizer, just as new growth starts to appear. Be careful not to allow the fertilizer to come into contact with the stems or leaves, as this could burn the plant.

Step 10

Cut back climbing hydrangea only when the plant begins to outgrow available space. Avoid even marginal pruning in late fall and during the first growing season.

Tips and Warnings

  • The residue left by climbing hydrangea can be challenging to remove. Do not plant climbing hydrangea at the base of a maple tree. The vine and the tree will compete with one another for water.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Organic mulch
  • Granular fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Annual and Perennial Vines
  • The United States National Arboretum: Hydrangea Questions and Answers
  • University of Rhode Island: Hydrangeas for the Home Landscape
Keywords: climbing hydrangea, hydrangeas, hydrangea care, hydrangea vine

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.