AppearanceHydrangea petiolaris is a vigorous woody climbing vine plant, growing to 30 to 50 ft (9 to 15 m) height and 5 to 6 ft (2 to 2 m) wide. It grows up trees and rock faces in its native Asian habitats, climbing by means of small aerial roots on the stems. The leaves are deciduous, ovate, 4–11 cm long and 3–8 cm broad, with a heart-shaped base, coarsely serrated margin and acute apex.
The flowers are produced in flat corymbs 15–25 cm diameter in mid-summer; each corymb includes a small number of peripheral sterile white flowers 2.5-4.5 cm across, and numerous small, off-white fertile flowers 1–2 mm diameter. The fruit is a dry urn-shaped capsule 3–5 mm diameter containing several small winged seeds.
UsesHydrangea petiolaris is cultivated as an ornamental plant in Europe and North America. Climbing hydrangea is grown either on masonry walls or on sturdy trellises or fences. It is at its best where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Its clinging rootlets are not as strong as most other wall-climbing vines, and so is often anchored with supplemental gardening ties. Its outward-reaching side shoots can be pruned back to a pair of buds to espalier it flatter against its support. When pruned during flowering, the blooms are useful in bouquets.
It is also grown as a ground cover, to eventually to grow over a garden area of up to 200 square feet (19 m2).
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