The Climbing Hydrangea is quite different from all the others. In fact, unlike the popular shrubs, it is a tall-climbing woody vine that attaches itself, usually, to masonry walls. Some old brick, stone, or stucco homes have these that are decades old, and they are incredible when they bloom, like a tall tree attached to the house with beautiful side-branches sticking out with their huge white flower clusters. It is a slow grower, but if you want something special on your masonry foundation, garden wall, or any other place, this is a spectacular, major plant the neighbors have never seen!
About Hydrangeas: These popular shrubs, also called Hortensia, all have rounded flower clusters that persist through summer and fall. There are several types, since there are several species of the plant the hybridizers work with:
H. macrophylla or French Hydrangeas. These, the most popular, form non-rangy, attractive shrubs about 4 to 6 ft. tall, and are famed for their big, colorful ball-like flowers, usually blue or pink. The popular group here is called Mophead hydrangeas. Artificially shortened versions are sold in pots on Easter and Mothers Day, and the blooms are florists favorites, always popular for wedding decorations. In addition to the mopheads (solid ball of flowers), there are also lacecap versions of these hydrangeas. (H. macrophylla is native to the Far East.)
H. arborescens, a US native, includes the widely-planted, Annabelle. Much like the Mopheads, Annabelle is a shorter hydrangea with huge rounded flower clusters in pure white. This is the one famous for flowers so large they often weigh down the branches, needing special support.
H. paniculata, is a larger species, much taller than the Mopheads. The flower clusters are more cone-shaped, rather than round. The plant in this group is more rangy than the shorter types, but can be controlled by pruning. The famous Pee Gee hydrangea, often grown as a small tree is in this group, and was imported from Japan in the late 19th century. There are also newer H. paniculata hybrids, including the beautiful greenish-flowered one called Limelight.
Other Types: There are several other important hydrangeas. The tall native Oakleaf hydrangea (sometimes considered a small tree) is also a variety of the species, H. paniculata.
There is a great website all about Hydrangeas called Hydrangeas! Hydrangeas! Click here to visit.