If you love the large, lacy clusters of hydrangea flowers but don’t have space for a shrub in your garden, consider a climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris). This woody vine does best in partial shade and can reach a height of up to 18 meters if left unpruned. Read this article to learn more about this impressive garden plant and how and when to prune climbing hydrangeas.
Why and when should you prune your climbing hydrangeas?
Cutting climbing hydrangeas – the most important thing on the subject
Proper pruning will help shape the plant and keep its growth under control. Note, however, that pruning Hydrangea petiolaris must be done at the right time, otherwise the plant will not flower this year or even next.
The age of the plant matters
The pruning can stress any plant because it loses water through the cuts and because the cut along the leaf nodes stimulates new growth. Newly planted climbing hydrangeas need time to acclimate to their new location and take root before pruning. Any pruning can drain energy from root development and result in a weaker plant. In order not to put too much strain on the climbing hydrangea, you should not cut it back in the first year of growth.
This garden plant can really climb
When is the right time of the year?
If you only want to prune your climbing hydrangea lightly to shape it, wait until late summer when the plant has finished flowering before pruning. During this time you can prune the tendril in height or width, remove dead branches or cut at the leaf nodes to encourage the plant to flower. Leaf nodes are the points on the branches where the leaves grow. Pruning just above the leaf node signals the plant to branch at that point, making the vine appear fuller.
There are various reasons for pruning climbing hydrangeas
Occasionally it may be necessary to severely cut back the climbing hydrangea. This severe pruning may be necessary, for example, if the upper part of the vine has been damaged. If the vine has become spindly, severe pruning will rejuvenate the plant. The best time for a vigorous pruning is when the plant is nearing the end of its dormant phase in late winter or early spring. Cut back most of the plant, leaving three to five one meter tall stalks. After a strong pruning, you should not cut your climbing hydrangea again in the next year. Note that this type of severe pruning will cause the plant to grow but not bloom for a year or two.
Pruning climbing hydrangeas can be a breeze if you follow these pointers
Tips for an effective pruning
In many cases, according to experts, a climbing hydrangea does not need to be pruned at all. If you do need to cut them, you should pull out the scissors once the plants have flowered and new flower buds are forming. Cut back just above the new buds.
When pruning your climbing hydrangea, always use sharp scissors to avoid crushing the stems and make clean cuts. If you have diseased plants in your garden, wipe your scissors with rubbing alcohol before pruning the hydrangea to prevent disease from entering the plant’s open wound. For smaller pruning measures, you should not remove more than a third of the plant growth. If you need to remove more, wait until the plant is dormant so as not to overload the vine.
Enjoy the flowering season!
Frequently asked questions about climbing hydrangeas
How long can a climbing hydrangea live?
Climbing hydrangeas can live up to fifty years in the right conditions and with the right care, such as adequate watering, afternoon shade, and pruning.
What is the difference between climbing hydrangeas and the false hydrangea vine?
The climbing hydrangea only has white and cream flowers, while the false hydrangea vine blooms in many different colors. In addition, the climbing hydrangea has four-petalled flowers. The false hydrangea vine has single sail-like bracts as flowers instead.
A beautiful eye-catcher in the garden
Why is the climbing hydrangea considered a four-season plant?
Climbing hydrangeas look good in all four seasons. In spring, the bright green foliage climbs up walls and trellises. In summer it blooms with its lush, lacy flowers. And in the fall, the glossy leaves turn yellow with the changing of the seasons. In winter, the falling bark brings structure to barren gardens.
So this is how you can benefit from climbing hydrangeas in your own garden and create a lively atmosphere
A great addition to your home
Let your climbing hydrangeas flower and cut them back after flowering