Growing Hydrangea anomala petiolaris

Latin Name Pronunciation: hye-dran'jee-uh 

Growing H. anomala petiolaris

Climbing Hydrangea (H. anomala petiolaris) will grow and flower even in a northern exposure. This large, heavy vine has lateral branches that will grow out as much as 3′ from the supporting structure. It is superb for growing up the trunk of large shade trees, walls, or along a stonewall. The reddish brown, peeling bark is attractive in winter. Although growth is slow the first couple of years after planting, this species is vigorous once established. Blooming usually begins in 3–5 years.

Light/Watering: Most varieties thrive in full sun in the North, but in the South require afternoon shade. Moist soils that do not dry out are best; do not plant in hot, dry, exposed sites. Mulch to conserve moisture and buffer soil temperatures.

Fertilizer/Soil and pH: Fertilize once in spring with a fertilizer designed to encourage blooms (such as 15-30-15). Soils should be moist but well drained, and rich in organic matter.

Pests/Diseases: None serious. Occasionally powdery mildew will infect the foliage, especially in humid areas with poor air circulation. Treat with an appropriate fungicide if the problem is serious, and be sure to rake up and destroy all fallen foliage in the autumn.

Pruning: Remove any dead wood in early spring. Prune as needed after flowering. Blooms on old wood.

Transplanting: Young plants may be transplanted when dormant in early spring. Prune top growth after transplanting to reduce water loss.

End of Season Care: Rake up and destroy any fallen foliage that was infected by powdery mildew or other fungi.

Calendar of Care

Early Spring: Prune as indicated above. Feed plants with a fertilizer high in phosphorus (such as 15-30-15) to encourage blooms. Complete any transplanting before leaves unfurl.

Mid-Spring: Mulch plants after soil has warmed to conserve moisture and buffer soil temperatures. Watch for powdery mildew and treat as needed.

Fall: Remove and destroy any fallen foliage that was infected by powdery mildew.

For more information on growing Hydrangeas, click here.

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