Planting and staking climbing hydrangea is a surefire way to brighten your garden. The variety of hydrangea known as climbing hydrangea is recognizable by its habit of "climbing" trees, walls, or trellises by means of its thin aerial roots. Climbing hydrangea plants bloom in mid- to late summer. Unlike their bushier cousins, the blossoms of the climbing hydrangea stay white. They are also flatter, featuring small clusters of what look like immature buds surrounded by four to five white petals. This type of hydrangea blossom is known as a "lacecap," after the flat lace headcoverings worn by colonial ladies, according to the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture.
When planting a climbing hydrangea, first dig a hole approximately twice the size of the plant container. Heavy soils or soils with a high clay content will need to be mixed with organic compost before the hydrangea is planted. Plant the climbing hydrangea so that it is level with the ground or sits slightly above ground level. Once the plant is firmly in place, water until the ground is saturated and bubbles begin to form in the disturbed soil. Climbing hydrangeas can be particularly "water-hungry," especially in summer, so check the plant regularly and water as needed.
Since climbing hydrangeas "climb" by attaching thin root-like tendrils to a wall, tree, or similar structure, they will not need staking once they have taken hold. When first planting a climbing hydrangea, however, the plant may need stakes to hold it upright so it can establish itself. After planting the climbing hydrangea, choose three wooden stakes that are one to two feet longer than the hydrangea's longest vine. Place these stakes around the perimeter of the plant in a triangle formation. If the stakes are long enough, twine or string may be required to hold them upright and together near the top. A climbing hydrangea generally will not thrive on string, however, so be sure your plant has something sturdier to climb. While climbing hydrangea plants will not kill trees, they can damage wooden structures, so do not train a climbing hydrangea to climb a frame wall or building.