Climbing Hydrangea, Hydrangea barbara

Climbing Hydrangea is a deciduous, semi-evergreen woody vine that is native to the southeastern USA and is found in the coastal plain and mountain areas of NC. It is found naturally in swamps, bottomlands, and moist forests. This large leafy vine attaches to structures with aerial rootlets and will cover buildings, trellises, walls, or arbors or can be trained as an espalier. It does not strangle trees.

It needs to climb to produce flowers that appear only on new wood. It can be grown as groundcover but will not produce blooms.

Plant Climbing Hydrangea in partial sun to partial shade in moist to wet fertile acidic soils. It does best with afternoon shade. It can tolerate heavy shade, but it will not flower as much as it will in partial or dappled shade. The leaves cover the plant from top to bottom, making it ideal to hide fences or buildings or use as a privacy or screening plant.

Climbing Hydrangea also makes a lovely ground cover.

Photo by K. Mulcahy

Photo by Eleanor43, CC BY-NC 2.0

Sources:,, other authoritative resources and personal experience.