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CLIMBING HYDRANGEA

If it is June in my garden, then climbing hydrangeas are in bloom.

There are two different genera of vines traveling under the name and description of climbing hydrangea. Each has its named selections and cultivars.  Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris is the Climbing Hydrangea. Schizophragma hydrangeoides is the Japanese Hydrangea -Vine. The main difference between the two genra is the shape of the sepals. The country of origin for both is Japan, with H. n. petiolaris coming also from China. Hardiness is 4 - 8 with the former, 5 - 7 with the latter. Cultivation is the same for both genra.


I have had the Climbing hydrangea in my garden longest.

My best guess is about 10 to 12 years. It took 8 or 9 of those years before I saw the first blooms appear. While being the slower of the two to settle in and flower, it is well worth the wait. Blooms are made up of dull-white centers of fertile flowers surrounded by large showy flowers with 4 petals, resembling a lace-cap hydrangea. Flowers are long lasting, attractive for 4 to 6 weeks and fragrant.

A true climber with grasping little feet.

Climbing hydrangea holds on to, but takes nothing away from, its companion tree where it can reach 60 to 80 feet in height clinging to rough surfaces for support. Leaves are darkest green with a polished finish, about 4 inches wide and long. As the vine matures it develops peeling bark in shades of cinnamon. Very attractive in winter against the black bark of the walnut tree where it clings in the center of my garden.

Japanese Hydrangea-Vine seems to be more variable in appearances.

It also blooms much sooner. There are several named cultivars to choose from. Thus far I have 'Moonlight' and 'Roseum' growing up mature trees in my gardens. 'Moonlight' I purchased while in bloom in a 3 gallon container. The foliage is heart-shaped, polished blue-green with an  overlay of silver-pewter dusting. Flowers are white. A heavy bloomer for me here on the north side of a hill with open shade. Most recent to my garden is "Roseum' with heart-shaped toothed leaves. Flowers are pale pink resembling your grandmother's lace doilies on strawberry-red stems which age to beige and finally to tan. The red-brown vine is revealed as foliage turns yellow and falls.

I am also lusting after additional cultivars.

I have seen several pictured and described, but first I need to find some differing ways to display the vines. All of mine are running up trees. I am considering placing the next cultivar to wind along the edge of a path, then wrap around the base of a large garden feature.



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