I have a climbing hydrangea which is growing beautifully on a northwest facing wall. It has never bloomed, however, and I’m wondering if there is something I can do to encourage blooms? It shares a space with clematis, hydrangeas and hostas, which are all doing very well.
Climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris) is a true climbing vine that attaches itself to brick, stone, trees or just about anything and will, if not pruned, grow to 60 or 80 feet using its root-like holdfasts on the stems. When mature, this plant has four-season interest, with beautiful dark green, glossy leaves in spring, followed by flowers for several weeks in late June or July, and finally peeling and exfoliating shaggy bark in the winter.
This plant is hardy in southeastern Michigan, and your northwest exposure should be ideal. The growing conditions appear to be just fine since your other plants are flourishing. The encouragement you can provide will be to simply wait for this slow-to-mature plant to establish itself. Although you do not mention how long the plant has been in its present location, it may not have been there the three or four years necessary for it to start taking off. Climbing hydrangea does not like to be transplanted and is slow to grow the mature root system necessary for blooming. Patience will reward you.