Climbing Hydrangea that won't Climb
- April 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm #28984
I have a stucco chimney where I’ve planted a Climbing Hydrangea, imagining the chimney eventually covered in the vine. (a corner that faces east and north). The plant looked healthy all last season and put out new growth. It clings strongly to the clapboard walls adjoining the chimney but refuses to stick to the stucco. I put a few cement nails in the stucco and tied some branches against it to encourage them but there was absolutely no cling. I’m thinking of trying an ivy or virginia creeper in its place but before I do was wondering if anyone had any idea why it won’t adhere itself?April 3, 2010 at 1:59 am #29297
Climbing hydrangeas are notoriously slow growing. It sounds like you just planted this last year? I would give it a little more time. Two thoughts on why it might not be growing on the chimney: Does the area with clapboard get more sun? If so whatever you plant there will grow toward the sun and won’t ‘stick’ to the stucco. Is it possible that the hydrangea is adhering to the stucco, but the stucco is flaking off? You could check to see if there are any unattached root pads and look on the bottom of these for flakes of stucco.April 3, 2010 at 10:53 am #29300
I agree; they are notoriously slow. I had to cut down my wonderful old one to renovate one of my sheds here that it had engulfed, and I have been waiting a few years for its replacement to get going. This is a VERY ambitions and strong-growing plant once it’s acclimated, however, and its root-like attachments will leave permanent marks on what they hold onto.April 6, 2010 at 6:52 am #29312
Thanks for your responses. I looked at it again today and as strange as it sounds am pretty certain that there is something about the stucco that makes the vine unable to stick to it, even though I’ve seen many examples to the contrary. The chimney actually gets a little more sun than the clapboard, so that doesn’t seem to be an issue. And this particular vine is not a slow grower. The plant was pretty big when I bought it and grew vigorously last year – faster than I expected. I looked to see if any stucco was flaking and it does not look like it. What I did realize is that where the vines are near stucco there are no rootlets. Where the vines are near the wood they act normally, put out tons of aerial rootlets, and cling like crazy but wherever they come in contact with stucco there are zero rootlets. Its not a situation where it starts to attach and then falls off, or clings weakly. It has no rootlets and no way to adhere, but only near the stucco. My only guess is there is some ingredient the mason used that is leaching out and affecting the rootlets. I think I will experiment with a different kind of vine just to see if it behaves any differently.April 6, 2010 at 2:23 pm #29313
Sometimes people put a frame of some kind (hardware cloth, wood lattice, another kind of mesh) between the plant and the surface to make it more clingable. Could you “wrap” the chimney with some kind of support like that?
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