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Japanese hydrangea vine

Leaves of Japanese hydrangea vine, cultivar 'Moonlight'.

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


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Screen,
  • Specimen

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 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Dry sites,
  • Alkaline soil

Seasons of Interest:

  • mid spring,
  • late spring,
  • early summer,
  • midsummer,
  • late summer,
  • early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Vining

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Size and Method of Climbing

A 15 to 30 feet high climbing vine.  Japanese hydrangea vine is a clinging vine that climbs by means of small aerial roots. 

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.

Plant Care

Japanese hydrangea vine is not a hydrangea, but closely related to climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea 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 protrude outward from growing site.

Leaf description

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

Flower description

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 description

 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 .  

Location of Schizophragma hydrangeoides (Japanese hydrangea vine) at the Arboretum