This Hydrangea Climbs

Climbing Hydrangea in bloom

Climbing hydrangea in bloom       photo by Fred Spicer

Climbing Hydrangea bloom close up

Climbing hydrangea bloom close-up    photo by Fred Spicer

Climbing Hydrangea in fruit

Climbing hydrangea in fruit

Close up of fruit

Close-up of fruit

Walking along the path towards the Curry Rhododendron Garden at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, I was stopped by the climbing hydrangea (Schizophragma hydrangeoides). It was growing in front of me on a tree entering the garden. The closer I got to the vine on Friday, I realized that I was seeing the beautiful fruit which look a lot like the flowers. There is another climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) that looks very similar but grows much slower, but it fades into the landscape after flowering. Both of these climbing hydrangeas are easy to grow. There are a number of examples throughout the Gardens. So, what is the trick to grow these beauties? Only one: plant in well drained soil in part shade and let it climb. But you have to patient. They are slow growing and do not bloom very much when they are young. But, in my opinion, they are worth the wait. Now you are not going to find these plants locally, but Woodlanders, a mail order nursery in South Carolina, lists them in their catalog. I know the owners, and they are a fine mail order nursery.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

2 thoughts on “This Hydrangea Climbs

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this – I planted a climbing hydrangea two years ago in our memory garden and it has grown very little. It seems healthy in every way but again, very little growth. Your comment that is is a slow grower gives me hope that one day it will in fact, cover the arbor I planted it beside. Lovely pictures!

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