These rambling vines can serve many functions in your garden. Their enchanting blooms can soften a hardscape, hide an unsightly fence, or climb through a rose, giving you twice the interest and extending the bloom-time on the rose. Most Clematis grow about 6-9 feet, but depending on conditions, they can reach 12 feet or more.
There are several myths about clematis that we’d like to debunk:
- “Clematis have a mystique about them that they are difficult to grow”. The truth is, clematis are extremely easy to grow. Clematis do not require heavy amounts of fertilizer or water, but they do require a steady supply of both during the growing season. We recommend E.B. Stone Organics Rose & Flower Food.
- Clematis can sometimes can be susceptible to “clematis wilt”, but this is easily managed by cutting the affected stems down to the root and tossing the stem and all wilted leaves into the trash (do not compost).
- In early spring, when your clematis is starting to poke out of the soil, make sure to watch for slugs and snails, as they love to eat tender new growth.
- Myth number 2 is that Clematis should have their “heads in the sun and feet in the shade”. Truth: Clematis don’t need shaded roots any more than any other plant. In fact, if you try to shade their roots using other plants, you could choke off growth. Clematis enjoy full sun and mulching, as with the rest of your garden.
- Pruning: This creates a lot of confusion with clematis, but rest assured, a healthy plant will recover from almost any cuts you make. My general rule is to not cut them back at all until I see new growth in the spring. A lot of clematis start new growth from intersections of the old, dead-looking stems and branches. While the plant may look dead in winter, there is life running through its veins!
The Clematis genus offers a dizzying variety of colors, bloom shapes and growth habits. It’s easy to plant a collection in such a way that you have blooms all year long. Flower shapes can resemble bells, lanterns, tulips, stars or saucers. The blooms can be as tiny as 1/2 inch long or as big as your hand. Colors include pink, white, red, yellow, and myriad of shades of purple. It’s common to find combinations of these colors on one flower, as many Clematis blooms fade to different colors as they age.
Here are a few of our favorites (all in stock now at The Evergreen Nursery):
Clematis “Warsaw Nike” (photo by Northscaping.com)
This dazzling beauty blooms in deep shades of burgundy and wine. The large 5-6″ flowers almost appear velvety and can bloom twice in a season: once in late spring and again in the fall. The star-shaped flowers nearly cover the delicate green foliage, creating a sea of color! It looks great paired with plants that have magenta, light pink or even yellow blossoms.
Clematis “Comtesse de Bouchaud” (photo by Northscaping.com)
“Comtesse de Bouchaud” features showy, rosey-pink star-shaped flowers with a hint of lavender overtones and yellow anthers at the ends of the stems from mid-summer to early fall. It has green foliage throughout the season. It’s one of the hardiest varieties and one of the more vigorous bloomers. Plant these beauties anywhere you want more light and splendor!
Clematis “Pink Champagne” (photo: Northscaping.com)
“Pink Champagne””Pink Champagne”‘ is a show-stopper! Its vivid hot pink flowers make this the ultimate party flower. Each blossom has a lovely lavender-blue flush in the center of each large petal that covers the vine every spring and summer. This scrambler is a wonderful feature on any climbing structure and will attract attention from far away.
An older, tried and true variety, ‘Ascotiensis’ still brings drama to the 21st century garden. Its large, mid-blue flowers bloom from mid-summer to early autumn. It can be trained to climb arbors and trellises as well as nearby trees and fences. The distinctive flowers stand out especially when paired with roses, such as “Graham Thomas” or other yellow varieties. Try growing clematis in your yard this year!
Come into Evergreen Nursery to see all these varieties up close. Then talk to our friendly experts about the best places to plant them in your yard!