The Q&A Archives: Japanese Climbing Hydrangea

Question: I am buying a new home with a commercial (non-wood) siding. I want to grow a flowering vine up the wall next to my front entry. The wall is about 15 ft. long and 9 ft. high, with no windows on it (it is the garage wall). The depth (for plant depth from the wall) is about 3 feet. It is an East facing wall, mostly in shade with a little morning sun.

My question is, would a Japanese Climbing Hydrangea Vine be suitable there? I.e., would it hurt the siding or the roof? Would it need to be pruned to keep it from growing over the roof? Would it need support? Would it be too large? Would it flower in the conditions described?

Answer: Hydrangea anomala, the climbing hydrangea, grows in full sun to part afternoon shade. With so little sunshine, it won't bloom or will bloom only sparsely. It climbs by holding onto surfaces with aerial rootlets so it would need a trellis to cling to. If you allowed it to cling to the siding of the house, it could damage the siding.

Since the site is mostly shady, you might want to consider a different climbing vine such as Jasminum, Lonicera (honeysuckle), or Trachelospermum (star jasmine). Each of these plants will grow in the shade, and all will require support of some kind to keep the vines from invading the spaces between your siding.

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