Garden Spotlight: Climbing Hydrangea

A Beautiful and Prolific Bloomer for Part Shade Gardens

I am forever searching for flowering plants that will do well in part shade. Only half of my backyard gets regular sun, so that’s where the vegetable garden went. The rest has its sun partially blocked by either the garage or a humongous Ash tree.  The big problem is finding a flowering vine for an arbor that separates the back patio from the main yard.  I had pretty good luck with Black–Eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alta), but unfortunately that vine, and the arbor it was attached to, blew over in a wind storm a couple of years ago. The arbor was replaced and I wanted to grow something different on it, so it has stood naked all this time.

On one of my trips to Green Arrow Nursery last week, I was excited to find Climbing Hydrangea (Hyndrangea anomala petiolaris) vines.  I love Hydrangea shrubs with their big blue or pink puffy mopheads of flowers, and they like the shade, so the vine seemed the perfect way to go! Hydrangeas do well in part shade, especially in hotter areas, as long as they have regular water.  Climbing Hydrangeas have white lacecap flowers (a bit more delicate than the mophead flowers) and rounded heart-shaped leaves.  They bloom profusely through the summer.  The flowers attract butterflies and are beautiful in floral arrangements either fresh or dried.  In fall, the leaves turn golden yellow, and even after the vine goes dormant in the winter, the woody stems are architecturally interesting. They can grow very tall (10’-20’) unless pruned back, but wait until winter. Since they need minimum support, Climbing Hydrangea can als be grown up the side of a bare wall where it will spread out nicely.

All in all the Climbing Hydrangea seems like it will be pretty low maintenance, and I am excited to see how it fairs.  I guess I better get my gloves on and my shovel out and start digging!