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Pileostigia - Growing Guide
Growing Pileostegia viburnoides
We are often asked to recommend a vigorous evergreen climber for a wall or trellis. This is certainly a good candidate which is self clinging with aerial roots as an added bonus.
Pileostegia are very similar in habit and appearance to schizophragma and some climbing hydrangeas; notably the evergreen H. seemanii.
P. viburnoides will grow densely to 10 or even 20ft in height. In the wild in China they grow on cliffs and rocky outcrops. Also up through other trees and this plant is a good thing to grow up a dead tree trunk.
The leaves are leathery and from 2-6in long. The flowers appear in September or October. In a warm summer after a warm winter you may well see flowers appearing in July or August. They are creamy or milky white, star shaped, and densely crowded in a terminal panicle which is 4-6in wide.
This plant is very hardy and easily grows through a little wind scorching of its leaves on an exposed wall. It propagates easily from cuttings but you normally do not have to bother as you can usually find a piece of new growth with aerial roots already sticking it to the wall. These can be cut off and potted straight away. An attribute this plant shares with climbing hydrangeas and H. seemanii.
P. viburnoides has been grown in the UK for over 100 years. H. seemanii is a more recent introduction. They look good grown together.