Climbing hydrangeas are flowering deciduous vines. These plants are true climbers, using the holdfasts (suckers) on their branches to scale walls and other structures. These large plants sometimes reaching 50 feet tall or more at maturity. In early summer, they produce fragrant, lacy ("lace-cap"), flat-topped, white flower heads. These lace caps can be 5 inches or more in width and are composed of showy flowers on the outside and less-than-showy flowers on the inside.
When they dry out, the flower heads turn reddish-brown. Some gardeners cut off the dried flower heads for use in crafts. The leaves are a medium-green color during the summer and turn yellowish in autumn. However, these plants are not grown for their fall-foliage color. The plants' peeling bark provides some winter interest.