Climbing hydrangea

(Question)

I planted a climbing hydrangea against a west facing fence. Last year it started growth. This spring it showing no sign of budding. I think I need to try another plant. I have not had luck with clematis and I understand that there are problems with Virginia creeper. Would a honeysuckle be a good choice? And how do I plant it ensure success. We live in georgetown Ontario.

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Some gardeners love the look of Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) especially in the fall when , it puts on a beautiful display of red foliage. This vine is a native plant that is not considered highly invasive here, just aggressive. In fact, the Canadian Wildlife Foundation recommends planting it since the berries it produces in the fall are a food source for birds and wildlife. That being said, some people would consider this plant to be a bit of a nuisance since it will spread and spread all through the garden, both by vines and by seeds dropped by birds. in order to keep this vine under control it requires regular pruning to keep it maintained.

You don’t mention your growing site for the vine. Does the area receive full sun, part shade, full shade? Do you have sandy or clay soil? Honeysuckles will grow in full sun to partial shade ( 2-4 hrs of sun/day), in moist well-draining soil. When choosing a honeysuckle make sure to chose one that is not on the invasive species list. Grow Me Instead lists Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica) on the invasive list. Instead I would chose Goldflame honeysuckle (Lonicera x heckrottii). This vine prefers¬†average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It does best when planted organically rich soils with good drainage.

The Grow Me Instead article above lists a number of other beautiful non invasive vines you may wish to consider.