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How to Transplant Climbing Hydrangea

The climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) is a clinging vine that grows up to 50 feet and is related to the popular hydrangea shrub. Like the hydrangea shrub, the climbing hydrangea produces clusters of flowers in the spring and sporadically during the growing season. The climbing hydrangea is appropriate for planting in USDA zones 4 through 7. It can tolerate the heat in zone 8 if it is protected from the hottest afternoon sun. Because it is a long-lived and powerful vine, a strong trellis or support is recommended. To successfully transplant a climbing hydrangea, follow the correct procedure.

Prepare to transplant a climbing hydrangea vine in the early spring, winter or late fall while the plant is dormant and the ground can be worked. Soak the soil around the root base of the plant with water one day before transplanting, so the root base is hydrated before attempting transplanting.

Decide where the climbing hydrangea will be planted. Provide necessary support for the vine by adding a trellis or other support if one is not already located next to the planting area.

Cut back the climbing hydrangea to 12 to 24 inches from the ground. Dig up the climbing hydrangea by digging up as much of the existing root base as possible from the ground. The roots of the climbing hydrangea are very small, matlike and fibrous. Keep as much soil as possible around the root base. Dig under the root base with the shovel and loosen it from the ground. Drag the root base of the plant onto a tarp by handling and lifting the root system. Do not pull the vine by the branches. You will pull them from the root system and damage the plant.

Drag or carry the tarp with the climbing hydrangea on it to the new location. Keep it out of direct sun while preparing the new planting hole. Sprinkle water over the roots so they will not dry out during the planting process.

Dig a hole in the new planting location twice as wide as the root system of the climbing hydrangea. The planting depth must be the same as it was in the previous location. Place the climbing hydrangea into the new planting hole and fill the hole with a mix of one-third compost and two-thirds soil. Add water while refilling the planting hole to create a good soil seal around the roots.

Cover the root base with a 1- to 2-inch layer of mulch to prevent moisture loss and control weeds.


Add water during the season to keep the root base moist, but not wet. It may take two to three growing seasons before the vine is growing vigorously again, so be patient.

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