There are very few hardy, flowering climbers that tolerate difficult, shady environments. Climbing hydrangeas and their relatives are one such plant that will grow in that shady spot where other plants seem to struggle.
Climbing hydrangeas can be used in a multitude of different ways. They look fantastic climbing a tree such as a ponga tree, it clothes the whole trunk and becomes smothered in white lacecap flowers in summer. They can be planted to cover unsightly walls, fences or sheds. They do not need a frame to climb as they have aerial roots that attach to surfaces similar to ivy. So consider this if you want to paint the shed etc in the future.
These climbers will grow as high as their climbing support allows whether this is a tree or a wall; it typically will not flower until it has reached the top of its structure. If planted on a 2m high fence it will climb then flower. If planted at the base of a 20m tall ponga tree, it will take a long while to climb to the top and when it eventually does flower most of the flowers will be near the top. So consider whether the floral display is important when selecting your planting site.
All the climbers have lacecap type flowers, typically white, or creamy white, some even have a scent! There are a couple of evergreen varieties, though most are deciduous or semi-deciduous. The growth of some of the varieties can be slow in the first few years; they then take off once they become established.
They are not too fussy about soil conditions, as long as it is well drained and has plenty of humus. They will grow in either full sun or shade, though they are more floriferous when grown in full sun. Some are more cold tolerant than others.
The climbing hydrangeas and relatives that we currently have available at the moment are:
- Hydrangea petiolaris
- Hydrangea seemanii
- Decumaria sinensis
- Pileostegia viburnoides
- Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Roseum’ (limited numbers)
- Schizophragma integrifolium ssp. Faurei (limited numbers)
Janica and Quin Amoore Woodleigh Nursery 300 Mountain Road RD 3 New Plymouth 4373
Tel 06 752 0830 | Cell 021 072 7394 (phone or text) | Email firstname.lastname@example.org