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Tuesday - October 28, 2008

From: Kingsport, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Vines
Title: Support for Climbing Hydrangea
Answered by: Barbara Medford


This past spring I planted a large climbing hydrangea at the base of a walnut tree which we have had to cut down this fall. The plant was very happy there and I'd like to keep it where it is but don't know what to construct to support it as it climbs. Do you have any suggestions?


The best (and natural) support for Decumaria barbara (woodvamp), as you obviously already realize, is a tree. It apparently is an orderly, non-invasive vine, whose stems become covered with climbing rootlets, that can be used both as a climbing vine or a ground cover. However, in this North Carolina State University Horticulture site on Climbing Hydrangea, we learned that it has to climb to bloom. Certainly it could grow up a good, sturdy trellis, and we would suggest an arch-type construction so you have ground support at both ends of the structure. A nice stone wall would be a lovely backdrop for it, but rather a labor and money-intensive vine support. If you had a need for a space divider, to perhaps conceal some other part of your property, etc., you might consider a wall or even stepped wall of plain old concrete blocks. Even a chain-link fence would be strong enough, and quickly disguised by the vines, to support it.

You undoubtedly already know more about the plant than we do, but we did establish that it is deciduous. It would probably be a good idea to tidy it up with pruning and cutting back during the dormant season, to keep it within the bounds of the space you have and the support you can provide. It is native to Tennessee, so you have it in the right place!

Pictures of Climbing Hydrangea

Decumaria barbara



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