Whether you say Clematis or Clematis, you will find this plant a beautiful and graceful addition to your garden. In deciding on a perfect location in which to plant your new Clematis, it is a vine, so it should be planted next to a trellis, a tree or a sturdy shrub so it may sprawl upward.
Clematis prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. Its flowers will fade in the hot afternoon sun. Clematis prefers cool feet and its leaves in the sun. Clematis also likes a well drained site. Clematis care will be explained in this article.
When a good site has been selected, dig a hole and amend the soil with an organic fertilizer such as compost, cow manure or decomposed ground bark in the planting hole. Take a soil sample to determine if lime should be added.
Dig a hole and make a mound in order to position the roots of the new Clematis plant to drape over and around the mound. Then replace the amended soil over the roots and fill the hole. The crown should be at least two inches below the soil surface.
Stems are brittle and should be staked and tied at the planting time for protection. Squirrels and small children can easily break the Clematis stems. Clematis requires moisture until well established.
Finally, plant a small shrub or a ground cover to shade the roots. A rock may also be placed over the roots for shade. Remember, the Clematis likes shaded roots and its leaves in the sun.
Care of Clematis requires correct pruning. Its pruning method sounds complicated but if you read the plant tag you will know what type of Clematis you have purchased. If you do not know what type you already have in your garden, I must say that Clematis is forgiving.
Pruning helps control the rampant growing types but your Clematis will produce more flowers if it is pruned correctly. There are three main Clematis types and they are grouped by their bloom time.
Group one includes the spring blooming type. An example is the evergreen clematis, C. Armandii, which is hardy in zones 4 to 9. This is a fast growing plant with 3 to 5 inch leaves that droop downward. Flowers are a glistening white and cover the plant in spring.
This Clematis makes a good privacy screen as it grows to 20 feet. The Clematis lanuginosa, Clematis alpina and Clematis macropetala are some other spring bloomers. These spring blooming Clematis bloom on the previous year’s wood which is also called old wood. Cut the plant back a month after it blooms, but preserve the main branches.
Group two are the summer and fall blooming types. They flower on the wood produced in the spring or new wood. If you live in a mild climate, these Clematis should be pruned in late fall or in early spring when you see the leaf buds swell. If you live in a cold climate, prune in early spring.
Examples of this group include all the currently popular, large flowering Clematis hybrids such as ‘Henryi’, ‘Jackmanii Rubra’, ‘Nelly Mosser’, and ‘Niobi’. A favorite in this group is Clematis terniflora or Sweet Autumn Clematis. This rampant vine produces billows of one inch white, fragrant flowers in late summer.
It is excellent as a privacy screen or to cover a garden arbor. Also, this Clematis is a prolific reseeder in your garden. However, this provides plants to share with a friend or neighbor. They can be potted up for plant sales as this is a favorite Clematis among gardeners.
Group three includes the Clematis’ that are repeat bloomers. They bloom in spring on old wood and then bloom again in summer or fall on new wood.
Clematis in this group hardly need pruned at all. Prune only to remove dead or weak growth. This is called corrective pruning. However, prune lightly only if needed in spring. Then, after the first flush of flowers, cut back the flowered portions of the plant for another flowering in summer or fall.
Popular hybrids of this type are ‘Jackmanii’, ‘Ernest Markham’ and ‘Comtess de Bouchaud’
Photos by igailf548 and Dave-F, Creative Commons Attribution License