Hydrangea petiolaris (climbing hydrangea): characteristics and cultivation

Hydrangea petiolaris (Hydrangea trepadora)

Within the hydrangeas, there is one of them that stands out for its size and also for the characteristics it has. We talk about the Hydrangea petiolarisbetter known as climbing hydrangea.

But what do you know about her? Beyond the fact that she is a climber, there are certain aspects that you should know. And that is what we are going to talk about next. Check it out.

How is the Hydrangea petiolaris or climbing hydrangea

Climbing plant

Climbing plant

The first thing you should know about the Hydrangea petiolaris It is that it is native to Korea and Japan. This plant grows on the banks of streams, wooded valleys, rocky slopes… Yes, it grows in the ground. However, due to its characteristics, it is capable of climbing without the need for help.

Going a little deeper into each element of the plant, we have the following:


We start with the stem of the Hydrangea petiolaris and we can tell you about it that it has a woody appearance and a rough and scaly texture. It can reach a height of up to 20 meters in ideal conditions. while its diameter varies according to the variety and the care given to it. In general, it is not too wide.

This has a dark brown bark and as the plant grows the stem branches off, forming secondary branches that spread in various directions.

What makes the stem of the climbing hydrangea so interesting is the presence of the cord roots. that develop along the stem (which we will talk about later).


As for the leaves of the Hydrangea petiolaris are an important feature. They are oval or cordate in shape (although some refer to it as almost heart-shaped), 7 to 12 cm long and 5 to 8 cm wide. Its color is bright dark green on top and a lighter shade on the bottom.

These are opposite, which means that they face each other in pairs along the stem.. Each leaf has a 2-3 cm long petiole that holds the leaf in place.

Regarding the texture of the leaves, you should know that they have a smooth texture, although the edges are slightly jagged.

What you may not know is that the leaves themselves help you know about the health of the plant. If they turn yellow or wither, it can be a sign that the plant is getting too much or too little wateror that there is a problem with the soil or the nutrition of the plant.

aerial roots

White flowers

White flowers

The aerial roots are one of the most interesting characteristics of the plant. Hydrangea petiolaris. These develop along the stem of the plant, emerging from the nodes of the branches, and adhere to the surfaces on which it climbs, such as walls, trees and rocks. In reality, they do not need the help of a lattice or the like, the roots themselves act as hooks, hence it is said that it is an “autonomous” climbing hydrangea.

These aerial roots are known as cord roots and form in response to the growing conditions of the plant. In nature, the Hydrangea petiolaris found in areas with steep, rocky soilso its aerial roots allow it to cling and grow on these surfaces.

They are light brown in color and have a rough, fibrous texture. As the plant grows, they thicken and cling more firmly to the surface. AND this can be a problem because they could damage surfaces such as walls (especially brick) or painted surfaces.


The flowers of the Hydrangea petiolaris they are one of the most distinctive and attractive features of this climbing plant. Flowers appear in large, corymbo-shaped clusters in late spring. and early summer, and are quite large, up to 15 cm in diameter. Blooms from June to July only.

They are typically white or creamy, although some varieties may have a slightly pinkish or pale hue. They have a compound flower structure, with many small flowers forming a large, dense head. The individual flowers have four or five petals and are quite simple, with a flat, rounded shape.

But what makes the flowers so distinctive is the way they are arranged on the plant. Because the plant climbs, the flowers are placed in large groups and they often stand in an elevated position, making them very eye-catching and easy to see.

Also, you should know that the color of these can vary depending on the pH of the soil. In acidic soils, the flowers may be more bluish in tone, while in alkaline soils flowers may have a more pinkish hue.

Climbing hydrangea care

small flowers

small flowers

Now that you know more about the Hydrangea petiolaris, you may want to have one in the garden. If so, here we leave you what are the most important care that you should provide.

  • Location: It can be in full sun as well as in semi-shade. If you live in an area with a warm climate, better in semi-shade. It also tolerates shade, but that slows down its growth, which is already slow in the first few years.
  • Temperature: It is resistant to both cold and heat. Frosts are also tolerated as long as they are not too frequent and long lasting.
  • Substratum: try to use one rich in organic matter and that maintains humidity. Also, remember that it drains well.
  • Irrigation: it needs regular watering so that the soil stays moist. Let dry between watering and watering to prevent root rot.
  • Subscriber: If possible, from late spring to early summer, it can be fertilized with a slow-release fertilizer.
  • Plagues and diseases: They do not usually affect you and even doing so does not cause serious problems.
  • Pruning: it will need you to make it regular after one or two years of planting because it grows very fast. Better maintenance pruning than a drastic one.

As you see, the Hydrangea petiolarisor climbing hydrangea, it can be a good choice as a climbing plant. Do you dare to have it in your garden?

Hydrangea petiolaris (climbing hydrangea): characteristics and cultivation

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