Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - October 28, 2008

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

 

 

More Vines Questions

Which Aristolochia species are toxic to pipevine swallowtail larvae
May 27, 2009 - In a May 30, 2008 question regarding the toxicity of certain Aristolochia species to pipevine swallowtail larvae, I had heard the same from at a talk from the curator of the Cockrell Butterfly Center ...
view the full question and answer

Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
December 03, 2010 - My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Purple Hyacinth from Sylvania OH
May 21, 2012 - I am wondering if I plant a Purple Hyacinth Bean vine seed under a tree and allow it to grow up the tree trunk, will it kill the tree?
view the full question and answer

Ivy a suitable ground cover in Live Oaks from Gulfport MS
April 17, 2014 - Will Ivy be a safe and suitable ground cover for old growth Live Oak trees in coastal Mississippi?
view the full question and answer

Conditions for wisteria bloom on Ontario, Canada
November 05, 2005 - I live in Ontario Canada, and about 4 years ago I bought a shrub which was called wisteria. I loved this bush when I visited a cousin out in British Columbia. The problem is it has no trouble growing ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.