Is it possible to grow a hydrangea on a trellis or a pergola? As we all know, regular hydrangeas are shrubs that are grown for its showy flowers that grow in clusters. Nowadays, a newer climbing variety of hydrangea has been introduced, and this plant is perfect for growing on a pergola, trellis, fence, or even as a wall covering.
It is a hydrangea cultivar that is named as Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris. Climbing hydrangea is a low maintenance plant that can be grown in full sun or partial shade. It is found to thrive in extreme temperatures. The plant can grow to a height of around 50 to 80 feet, and has a thick trunk with exfoliating bark. The vines are woody as well as sturdy.
Unlike regular upright hydrangeas, the climbing ones have cascading, heart-shaped leaves with a glossy texture, and dark green color. During mid summer, these plants produce 'lace cap' flowers (flowers with small bud-like blooms in the center, but with larger florets along the outer the margin), that are white in color. Lace cap flowers produced by climbing hydrangeas can be more than five inches in width. The leaves of the plant turn yellowish during fall.
Tips to Grow Climbing Hydrangea
If you plan to grow this hydrangea, choose the right location with well-drained fertile soil. If you are staying at a place with a warmer climate, then locations with partial shade will do. However, go for locations with full sun, if you are staying in cooler regions. Once the location is decided, prepare the soil by tilling and adding a good amount of compost. It is always better to go for a larger plant, as climbing hydrangeas are slow-growing. Smaller plants may take longer to establish themselves, and produce flowers. It will take around three years for this plant to bloom.
The best time for planting is early spring, after the last frost. Water the base of the plant, soon after planting. Continue with watering once a week during summer, and once in every two weeks during spring and autumn. Refrain from watering this hydrangea, during winters. During the first two years, feed the plant with a slow release fertilizer, during spring. One tablespoon per foot of plant height will do. From the third year, you may start feeding the plant twice a year - during spring and fall.
Usually, pruning is done after flowering. Remove the stems and spent flowers. Though this hydrangea is a slow-growing plant, it may spread uncontrollably, once it establishes itself. So, pruning is good for managing the growth of the plant. The plant is prone to rust and mildew, which can be countered by removing and destroying the affected parts.
In short, climbing hydrangeas are perfect for those who want it as a cover for fences, walls, etc. The aerial roots of the plant may sometimes leave marks on the base structure, like wood and bricks. You may also train these plants to grow on a trellis or a pergola.