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TREES & plants

Japanese hydrangea vine

Japanese hydrangea vine, cultivar 'Moonlight' growing on a wall.

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. 

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name: 
Schizophragma hydrangeoides
All Common Names: 
Japanese hydrangea vine
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Vine
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Screen
  • Patio/sidewalk
Size Range: 
  • Large plant (more than 24 inches)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Mid spring
  • Late spring
  • Early summer
  • Mid summer
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
More Information: 

Size & form

A 15 to 30 feet high climbing vine.
Japanese hydrangea vine cllimbs by means of small aerial roots. It looks great growing up a wall or on a tree.

Tree & Plant Care

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

Disease, pests, and problems

none serious

Native geographic location and habitat

Found in the woods and forest in 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 prtrude outward from growing site.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, single, coarsely toothed, 2 to 5 inch long oval to broadly heart-shaped. Dark green leaves turn a yellow fall color. Petiole stalks are red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

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, appear in late June to early-July and last for around four weeks. 
Flowers on old wood.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

 A dehiscent capsule, not ornamentally important.

Cultivars and their differences 

Moonlight Japanese Hydrangea Vine  (Schizophragma hydrangeoides 'Moonlight’):  The leaves of this cultivar have a light, sliver-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' had large, showy pink flowers .