Our plant pick this week is a hydrangea. But don’t say “not another hydrangea!” This hydrangea is definitely NOT just another…its been around a long time…a proven goodie…and not only can it be a shrub, or a groundcover, its an outstanding vine! Our pick of the week is Hydrangea petiolaris (also Hydrangea anomala ssp. Petiolaris – don’t you hate these folks getting picky about genus species subspecies?), or commonly known as ‘CLIMBING HYDRANGEA’.
This is a great looking vine and can attach itself to walls, trellises, or any type of support with small rootlets (best on flat walls such as stone, masonry walls and wood. As it vines, it creates horizontal branching which is really cool to look at! The vine itself has a cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark, so looks great year-round, but in the growing season, is covered with deep green glossy leaves, broadly oval, with toothed margins. These leaves last late into the season, finally fading into a good yellow.
And how about the flowers? In mid-summer, it develops flat lacy clusters of fragrant small white flowers that really stand out against the deep green glossy leaves (blooms on old wood). Note: It takes a few years for this hydrangea to establish, get growing and then flower, so be patient. It’s worth it! (Light pruning may be required – usually done late winter.)
Loves moist, yet well drained soils (water during periods of drought), a bit of a slow grower but worth the wait, and check this out: Grows in sun, partial sun/shade, or shade! And yes, can be pruned and grown as a shrub, let grow low as a ground cover, or do its thing and grow as a vine! Again, one you’ll have to wait for, but it is definitely well worth the wait. ps…yes, there are variegated selections as well.