Content Detail

Japanese hydrangea vine is an excellent vine for wood or stone fences, walls, and arbors. It attaches to hard surfaces by root-like holdfasts. Cinnamon-brown bark and large, white lace cap flowers in late June add to the beauty of this climbing vine.

  • Family (English) Hydrangea
  • Family (botanic) Hydrangeaceae
  • Tree or plant type Vine
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Dry sites
  • Season of interest mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Vining
  • Growth rate Slow

Size and Method of Climbing:

Japanese hydrangea vine is a clinging vine that climbs by means of small aerial roots. It will grow to 15 to 30 feet. Clinging vines attach themselves directly to a surface by means of holdfasts (adhesive discs) or by small aerial roots. This type of vine grows best on a flat surface, such as stone, masonry walls, and wood.

Native geographic location and habitat:

It is found in the woods and forests of the mountains of Japan.

Bark color and texture:

This vine attaches by root-like, cinnamon-brown holdfasts. Stems are cinnamon-brown with flaky, peeling bark. They remain flat and do not protrude outward from the growing site.

Leaf description:

Leaves are 2 to 5 inches long, opposite, simple, coarsely toothed, oval to broadly heart-shaped. Dark green leaves turn a yellow fall color. Leaf stalks are red.

Flower description:

It has a single, 8 to 10 inch, flat-topped flower cluster (lacecap) composed of numerous fertile flowers surrounded by tear drop-shaped sterile outer petals (sepals). Flowers are slightly droopy. They appear in late June to early July and last for around four weeks. This vine flowers on old wood.

Fruit description:

The fruit is a dehiscent capsule that is  not ornamentally important.

Plant care:

Japanese hydrangea vine is not a hydrangea, but is closely related to the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris). It grows in full sun, partial shade, or full shade but seems to do best in partial shade. It prefers well-drained, moist, humus-rich soil but is intolerant of wet sites.  It is drought tolerant once established. Plants are slow to establish but will grow more rapidly with age. May take several years to flower.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

None serious


Moonlight Japanese hydrangea vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Moonlight’): 

The leaves of this cultivar are a light, silver-gray  with contrasting dark green veins. The white flower sepals are larger and showier than the species.

Rosea Japanese hydrangea vine (Schizophragma hydrangeoides ‘Rosea’):

The cultivar ‘Rosea’ has large, showy pink flowers . 


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift