Hydrangea petiolaris front cover white flowers

Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea: Growing and Care Guide

Scientific name: Hydrangea petiolaris | Common name: Climbing Hydrangeas

Loves: Moist soil; mild shade 👍 | Hates: Dry heat 👎

Hydrangeas are recognised for their prominent and beautiful bold leaves and flowers, and can have a good life throughout the year. Despite several Hydrangea-like variants including Hydrangea seemanii (Seemann’s hydrangea) and Dichroa febrifuga (Chinese quinine), we will be focusing on the Hydrangea petiolaris here.

The evergreen climbing hydrangea originates from the Philippines, and has properties consisting of eggshell colours that particularly standout for gardeners and flower growers. This particular climbing hydrangea can be grown in pots, other containers, or in your garden, which is often the best option due to their trailing, viney appearance.

Evergreen Climbing Hydrangeas are great for adding more colour and fertility to your garden. This plant is beneficial for climbing along trellises, walls, and trees. Fancy growing one?

In this grow and care guide, you will find all the necessary information you need to know about Hydrangea petiolaris and why they will make such a fine addition to your garden.

This guide will cover the following:


When to Plant

Where to Plant

Propagating Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea

Pruning Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea

Growing & Care Tips

Climb to the Top with a Hydrangea

Hydrangea petiolaris white and green


  • Leaves:

The delicate, glossy-themed leaves will last on the vine throughout the year alongside the duck egg-coloured flowers that spread.

  • Formation:

The formation of an evergreen climbing hydrangea will usually be clumped and close together. You will often see the puffy flower heads appear in groups, shown in the images above and below.

  • Height:

Climbing Hydrangea vines can reach up to 30ft (9m) tall, with thick-set leaves that reminisce the evergreen magnolia. However, because they are so vigorous, they need plenty of room to grow and can take between 10-15 years to reach their maximum length.

  • Spread:

Because they grow in a vine formation, you will find the climbing hydrangea spread evenly across a wall, fence, or trellis. As it can reach up to 30ft tall, there is no limit to it growing in width. However, if the spread becomes excessive, you can prune it and add it to a separate potting.

If the hydrangea begins to fumble under its weight, you can help give it extra support with wires or a bigger trellis and tie the shoots. Traditionally, this should not be an issue, as evergreen climbing hydrangeas are self-clinging. It can be grown in zones 9 through 10 of your garden. Be careful when handling Hydrangea petiolaris since the foliage can irritate the skin, so wearing gloves is preferable.

  • Flowers:

Multiple flower heads will spread across the plant and will open in the shape of lace caps. The flowers usually sprout during the summer, attracting numerous insects, including butterflies and bees, to seek pollen. Perfect for those looking to make their house walls more vibrant and less bare.

  • Identifying Features:

Depending on your climbing hydrangea variant, you can get different shades of flowers sprouting. Colours include white and purple. The eggshell shade of white is the most popular and, therefore, the most identifiable of all hydrangea plants.

When to Plant

Try to plant your evergreen climbing hydrangea shortly after purchasing it. Ideally, it would help if you planted your hydrangea between spring and autumn. As they grow slowly, the winter should not have lasting effects so long as you give it plenty of good soil to keep it warm.

If you plan on keeping your hydrangea contained, you can plant it at any point during the year, so long as the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. As mentioned, the soil should be kept moist to prevent from being overly dry.

Where to Plant

Evergreen Climbing Hydrangeas grow best when facing against a north or east-facing wall or fence. Leave a gap at least 45cm (18in) between where you place the plant and the wall. Sunny spots also work well, providing it is not in excessive heat. Too much heat can also affect the soil and cause it to go dry, which is bad for the hydrangea.

Despite being slow growers, they are also vigorous climbers; even one plant alone is enough to cover an entire house wall.

Propagating Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea

You can layer propagated cuttings of the Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea by taking softwood cuttings between late spring and mid-summer. If you have missed this period, you can take semi-ripe cuttings between mid-summer and hardwood cuttings in the winter.

Pruning Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea

There are two methods for pruning a Climbing Hydrangea: routine or renovation pruning. Do these pruning methods delicately, because most Hydrangea petiolaris flower buds are produced at the top.

Routine: Pruning Hydrangea petiolaris should be done in the summer after it has flowered. Flowers can generally be produced from the previous year’s shoots. Pruning should be made after the summer seasons when the hydrangea has flowered. Any overgrown shoots should be shortened to provoke new growth.

Renovation: If you heavily prune the plant, it will struggle to flower for the next few summers. You should instead consider renovating pruning in gradual summers for 3-4 years, to gradually reduce the size of the plant. However, established hydrangeas can tolerate hard pruning in the spring.

Check out how Canna Tropicannas can add more colour to your garden

Growing & Care Tips

  • Watering: Before planting your climbing hydrangea, water it an hour or so beforehand. Keep your watering consistent on the Hydrangea for the first few years of growth is rain is uncommon. Watering your Climbing Hydrangea may not be necessary if the plant is grown close to a fence or wall since any rain will shadow over it. However, monitor this as more rain won’t help the plant, and in the summer if rainfall is rare, it may need regular watering during its first years of growth.
  • Fertilising/feeding: General fertilisers such as Vitax Q4, Growmore, Fish, Blood, and Bone feed are the best options for your hydrangea after plantation. Keep your feeding consistent until your plant is fully established. Mulching and watering are more useful than general feeding, though.
  • Soil: Soil should be kept moist for it to grow. Climbing Hydrangeas prefer soil that has a balance of alkaline and acidic features. Pay particular attention to this during the summer. Avoid drying out the soil by using mulch created from organic matter, like garden compost or leaf mould.
  • Pests: Signs of a pest problem on your Climbing Hydrangea often includes damaged leaves. Slugs, caterpillars, and rose chafers are the usual culprits. You can set traps to prevent them from coming near the hydrangea, such as using sharp fragmented materials like oyster shells, sawdust, or cups of milk or beer dissolved in sugar water. At times, this method might evoke more slugs and caterpillars to visit. Alternatively, invest in having ducks in your garden, as these bugs are prey for ducks.
  • Infection: It is rare to find a climbing hydrangea to become infected since it is a hardy plant. However, whilst it is a slow plant to grow, signs of infection can also affect this factor. Because of its growing conditions, less sunlight can lead to it developing powdery mildew. Mildew is treatable by removing affected leaves and leaf litter. Powdery mildew has a light-grey-coloured appearance.

Find out more about powdery mildew and common plant diseases here

Climbing Hydrangea petiolaris

Climb to the Top with a Hydrangea

Overall, growing and caring for an Evergreen Climbing Hydrangea is not arduous, and it is helpful for a gardener interested in experimenting with their garden flowers more. The popular trait of hydrangeas is that they are hardy but slow growers so it can be a long-term project for you to explore.

They are also relatively easy to care for, although you should still be mindful of certain factors mentioned in this care guide.



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