Category Archives: Clematis

viorna and texensis groups

the viorna group is unusual in that instead of having lots in common, these vines differ in cultivation and appearance. They can be woody vines, sub -shrubs, or more like herbaceous perennials, some need damp soil, some like it hot and dry, and for the most part they all have at least one fussy requirement that needs your attention for them to grow well in a garden setting. I know this is supposed to be about easy to grow plants, but some of these requirements might fit right in with  your garden conditions which will of course make them easier to grow.

interesting fact; many of our native ( to the US ) species of clematis get lumped here including texensis, c. crispa, c adisonii, c. pitcheri, c. viorna c. glaucophylla and c. reticulata   reminding us yet again that just because a plant is native doesn’t mean it will grow either well or easily in your yard.

let’s talk about one of the most beautiful yet frustrating, c. texensis . ph roslina 0409 clematis texensis redClematis texensis is a beautiful bright red and has been used in breeding to attain variations of the color . You will not find the straight species anywhere in retail nurseries as it is most difficult to propagate and rare even among collectors. The hybrids of texensis, however, are often found for sale and are bear striking flowers on the reddish pink side . A few well known varieties are

Duchess of AlbanyImage result for clematis duchess of albany

(image from Brushwood Nurseries where you can purchase many of these plants)

Princess Diana (image from RHS)

Image result for clematis princess diana

Princess Kate (image from crocusuk)

Image result for clematis princess kate

and Gravetye Beauty

 

 

All of these vines are  susceptible to powdery mildew which will discolor and eventually defoliate the vines. I tried for years to get Gravetye Beaty to look good in the garden , alas,  this year I gave up and ripped my two vines out before I could change my mind and I really feel good about that decision. It became such an eye sore no matter what I tried and although I loved the flowers , that just wasn’t enough to warrant keeping them. I have had much better luck with Princess Diana and the Duchess of Albany, I would choose these for easy care plants if grown in full sun.

(For clarity I will make what seems like a stupid statement here, clematis texensis gets put in the Viorna group yet  most of it’s hybrids are in the Texensis group. No one said this was easy lol)

 

Clematis viorna  (AKA vasevine, leather flower) is a species that is highly variable in form and flower and due to some on going field research being done is about to get split into many new species and sub species .  I waiver in my loyalty to either lumping the species together as they currently are (making it easier to remember and ID )and splitting them up which requires me to learn more names but is better for accuracy.

c. viorna has adorable leathery pinkish bells and spectacular feathery seed heads and can be quite vigorous  (read:easy)

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C.crispa, is sometimes called Swamp leather flower , and that will give you a clue what differentiates this one from the group….water. Unlike mot clematis , It likes wet soil and can even tolerate being water logged which would kill it’s cousins. . If you have a spot that meets this requirement I would rate this plant as easy to grow. It sports recurved white-lilac bells and the vine tends to be pretty open and sparse.  The one thing clematis is the viorna group definitely share is the adorableness of their flowers. Petite and sweet.

Photo again from Brushwood. I did finally dare to plant this clematis here in my dry sandy soil, it is right next to the hose and and although not flowering yet , it is alive and growing , fingers crossed.

Image result for clematis crispa

Clematis odoriba is a cross between viorna and crispa. It is and extremely free flowering vine  whose intense pink flowers face slightly upward making them a wonderful addition to my back arbors where we can see the top-most blooms over the fence.  I adore this vine, it is ignored out back and is thriving in neglect .IMG_2547

the crappy picture is from my phone which usually does a better job.

Another from this group I grow here is clematis fusca, which as soon as I figure out just what it is looking for to bloom and be happy I will let you know. So far every location and soil amendment etc I have tried has just shown me what makes it sulk and die back. I look forward to seeing the very unusual flowers in the garden as opposed to plant catalogs

 

 

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So keep in mind, if you have wet or heavy rich soil , try clematis crispa.

Baking sun?? plant   any of the c. texenis hybrids

If you have average soil you can easily grow c. viorna and c. odoriba.

and if you successfully grow c. fusca, congrats to you!  Please fill me in on what it likes, I am all ears!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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heracleifolia group

now this is a very interesting bunch of clematis given how unlike the typical , or I should say  most well known varieties,look. Instead of thin twiney and grabby vines, the shrubby  heracleifolias have relatively  large leaves, thicker stems,  and a extremely lax way of growing ,

They have no modified petioles to climb with so you can either 1.) tie them onto a support 2.) tie the vines to each other to make it look like a shrub ( whence they will resemble a hydrangea bush) or 3.) let them do as they will and sprawl into the garden or better yet down over a wall.

Here in the burrow I do all three . When letting them find their own way into the garden though, i do find I need to help a little with some careful redirection given that they emerge and really get going after many of the herbaceous perennials are filled out and they need to have their position adjusted so they are either in the middle of or under the other plants and no one gets smothered by all that lovely foliage.

What makes growing this group of clematis so easy is that they are more like the herbaceous perennials in the garden and die back to the ground every winter making pruning a cinch. The leaves are untroubled by the browning and dying off that other clematis are notorious for, instead holding on to their lush green coloring all season long , and they tolerate dry conditions very well.

They bloom in the latter part of summer, August into September and their little white, purple or blueish bell or star shaped flowers ( reminiscent of hyacinths) are a welcome sight when the garden need a pick me up,

Clematis stans is one in this group that you need to grow from seed.  I have never it seen sold  as a plant , but the seeds are  easy to germinate and will flower either that year or at the latest in it’s second. The late-great Christopher Llyoyd famously described this clematis as “bearing flowers of a spitefully non contributory off-white skimmed milk coloring”. High praise indeed!  It just goes to reaffirm a lesson we all need to hear in this day, that you can adore many parts of a person  ( in this case bordering on worship) and still disagree with them on certain things. Given that c. stans is very variable in it’s flower color and fragrance , it is worth sowing a few to see what you get.

This one I started last spring is flowering and looks more lilac colored and is highly fragrant, reminiscent of lilies.DSC_0008 DSC_0006

One clematis in this group I recommend all the time is Mrs. Robert Brydon. (click name to read my plant profile )

Mrs. Robert Brydon, with it’s fancy name,  is more widely available than the other heracleifolias (I have even seen it at big box stores ) and has the same clean and green foliage as others in this group.

mrb

 

 

The  flowers grow on short stalks in clusters and are lovely both in bud and when open,

buds of Mrs. Robert Brydon

buds of Mrs. Robert Brydon

 

the further open the flowers get,  the more the stamens protrude  in a little mini firework display. This one wins a cuteness award.

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The last clematis  in this group I grow is  it has petite  urn shaped flowers that are said to be highly fragrant, my plant has yet to bloom (although it looks beautiful and healthy) so I will leave you with a tease and a promise to post photo when it does for you to enjoy, a promise I wish could make you about the scent , maybe someday it will bloom on an Open Day.

next week we talk viornas including many of our natives, stay tuned!

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easy peasy clematis

I hear from many people at my talks that they find clematis to be tricky, fussy , or even impossible to grow. that may very well be true for some of the large flowered hybrids with their susceptibility to wilt and siren call they send out to every slug from here to Nova Scotia, but the more you know about this fascinating genus of plants  the better able you are to pick and choose the ones that flower generously and remain more or less trouble free in the garden .

For the next couple of weeks i am going to introduce you to some clematis that are as easy as pie to grow and maintain , and also bring some charm into the garden.

First a little background info. The genus clematis has quite a number of differing species , and these species hail from all over the globe and can be markedly different in their growth and growing requirements. One way growers use to simplify the what and how of each species and their hybrids  is to lump them into loose groups based on parentage.

The four groups I am going to talk about are all full of late season bloomers, with generally smaller flowers  massed on larger vines , they are the Tangutica group, the Heracleifolia Group, the Viorna Group and the Vitacella Group. One a week for four weeks, follow along!!!

This week we start with the Tanguitica group and three  of the easiest clematis varieties you will ever grow.

The Tanguita group holds clematis that have either c.tanguitica, c. orientalis, c.serratifolia, or c. tibetana as a parent, it is sometimes also called the Orientalis group. Many clematis in this group have yellow or orange-y yellow flowers, but also white, cream or even those that look brown, or some that are bi-colored. The clematis in this group also sport some pretty amazing seed heads and many of the vines can grow large enough to cover a shed or pergola.

C.tangutica ‘Bill MacKenzie’ was the first one I ever grew from this group. It can reach 25+ feet and has lovely foliage which never looks ratty  because it is very adapted to living in poor sandy soils and is quite tolerant of drought .I t will sulk in heavy or poorly drained soil so add grit and gravel if necessary in your neck of the woods. I have planted Bill under the one ( out of 20) remaining poplar trees in the yard where it happily has grown into the canopy of the tree and flowers from June to September. After the first few flower pass (usually in July) the vine starts to also show off the gorgeous large silky seed heads that persist until early winter . I press the foliage of this guy a lot for my Pressed Flower card workshops, it is quite fine, almost ferny.

seed heads of bill MAc

seed heads of bill MAc

foliage of Bill Mac

foliage of Bill Mac

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This clematis blooms only growth it makes in the current year, so you could in fact cut it down to 12 inches or so in the late winter, but I chose to cut only a few vines back, and to staggered heights at that, to maintain some of the height into the tree and get flowers at many levels.

Clematis ‘My Angel’ is also a very vigorous plant and quite the charmer. I bought mine from Klehm’s Song Sparrow and am copying their description here because it is perfect (photos are mine)

Charming flowers are yellow on the inside and brushed with plum-red on the outside. Clematis My Angel® has plump, round buds that open to nodding flowers over a long bloom period. Each bloom has four showy tepals and is accented with a center of dark plum anthers. Flowers give way to fluffy silvery, seed heads.

my angel

my angel

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The only thing I will add is that my flowers tend to be the size of a dime , they are beyond adorable.

I word of caution, I have heard this baby will seed itself , but usually near the mama plant. haven’t had it happen here but good to know.

The third member of this group I am growing is new to me this year, and seriously, if you can’t grow this one you should maybe take up a new hobby.

‘Radar Love ‘ had solid yellow open bells and gorgeous seed heads, how do I know this so soon? Started from seed in April, my plants are already blooming and one has seeds too. 4 months from seed to blooming vine, and mind you, I  had almost 100% germination rate so  I actually ran out of locations to put them in the garden and  I left some in pots where they have been deliriously happy .

radar love

radar love

radar love

radar love

radar love seed head

radar love seed head

 

Doesn’t get easier than this, well, except maybe next week’s group, The Heracleifolias!

 

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clematis tour

DSC_0079this is a marvelous time for clematis, when the early guys are still trucking along and the late bloomers are just starting, makes for lots of flowers that’s for sure!

Elsa Spaeth is a favorite, in my top ten , and blooms start early and carry on for weeks. Only a handful of clemmies get planted more than once here and she is definitly one. The HUGE flowers, that deep color, the vigor of  the plant, all combine to make perfection.

elsa spaeth

elsa spaeth

Betty Corning s another on my top 10 list.I here back from people I have taught telling me how happy they are to have planted her. She is a show stopper because of the sheer volume of flowers at any one time, disease free foliage and 18 + weeks of bloom. AmazingDSC_0065 DSC_0125

Another vitacella, venosa violacea is just adorable but may get a new home give she is being swamped by other plants where she is

DSC_0113Odoriba is a cross between our natives crispa and viorna. It has cool wide recurving sepals  Delicate to look at, easy to grow.

odoriba

odoriba

Catherine Clanwilliam has sure taken it’s time getting going here but after a few year is showing a little more vigor. It is rosy pink throughout  and will twist the tiniest bit after opening

catherine clanwilliam

catherine clanwilliam

a tanguitica called ‘Bill McKenzie is currently blooming way above my head in a tree. It is extremely early this year. the seed heads on this one are fantastic

 

bill mckenzie

bill mckenzie

purpurea plena elegans is a very diminutive vitacella  that really needs to be grown on it’s own to appreciate. It lives here in a large container in the pool area.

pupurea plena elegans

pupurea plena elegans

Polish Spirit has the stamina and strength of my people. It blooms so long and so hard and the vines themselves are huge. I grow it here up a covered bench and over a gate into rugosa roses AND over my black fence  It is that wonderful!

polish spirit

polish spirit

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etoille violet is another on my top ten list, it is a flowering  machine and can take quite a bit of shade. I grow it into a crabapple tree and up lattice on the north side of the houseDSC_0110 DSC_0084

this guy is clematis triternata rubromarginata  although it is far more dark purple than my other vine of this variety which is more on the reddish side and it has  green in the mid section instead of white.The flowers are very recurved and twisted like a mini-pinwheel.  It is very unusual but an up close and personal plant given it’s small and dark flowers which do not stand out from any distance.DSC_0062 DSC_0064

roguchi is a  reliable long bloomer that does not twine or climb. It’s buds are just as interesting as the opened flowers which are a very deep dramatic purple. Here it grows in a small raised bed under a maple next to and into a yellow foliaged arborvitae.

rogucci

rogucci

this one was sold to me as Snow Queen but I am sure it is Hagley Hybrid. It never fades to pale , instead remaining clearly pinky mauve with textured mid-ribs and  those dark anthersDSC_0086

speaking of dark anthers, this is Countess of Wessex  sporting some very dark anthers indeedDSC_0091

on the arbor with her is Huldine who has been in recovery mode for the last two seasons after consecutive rabbit attacks. The flowers are a little smaller than usual but much better than last years. Both grow into a very rambunctious rambling rose.DSC_0095

flueri is a very compact vine bred by Raymond Evision with  very deep dark coloring. This clematis is placed all wrong here, growing under a dark ninebark and barley visible to the world. It is on the to do list to move this next to something variegated and light so it can be seen by all.

 

flueri

flueri

These buds  and the one backward facing bloom below are from Burning Love (or Vitiwester’) which is a lovely  deep red  and has the added bonus of being crossed with a vitacella parent so it is disease resistant .

wildfire??

burning love

i am Lady Q is ever so dainty and delicate with a crisp white center and purple-pink edges. This weekend the pop up tent we were using for garden check- in on the tour went flying in the wind and took her obelisk down, but she weathered the storm quite well loosing only one of her vines.

I am Lady Q

I am Lady Q

Normally Dr.Rupell is one of my earliest bloomer, this year it is a bit behind but welcome all the sameDSC_0069

Star River has been performing quite nicely for many weeks now. I must say I do not care for the fading flowers on this one so have been regularly deadheading it.

star river

star river

Rosemoor is another dark beauty . Rosemoor used to grow here on a willow tutuer I made but last year I swapped it out for this white one and now she really pops

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Comtesse de Bouchard is another on the top ten list, you will never regret growing this a stalwart plant , easy care, generous bloomer, just a delight

comtesse de bouchard

comtesse de bouchard

Last but not least are two herbaceous clematis. Arabella has been going strong for 4 weeks  , I may start a herbaceous top ten list just so I can add this beauty to it.

a

a

C. recta is in full bud and ready to become a froth of bloomDSC_0089

and two that are done blooming for now but showing off some funky see heads

freemontii

freemontii

omishiro

omishiro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a little clematis tour

there are a few weeks here when the bloom of many clematis plants overlap. Some are just finishing, some just gathering steam, and all combining together to make the garden look fantasitic. Here are some shots of who is bringin’ it today.DSC_0006
ps..we got rain! It wasn’t a lot, but it did give me time to do other things instead of watering and that felt darn nice!

Star River opening

Star River opening

pagoda

pagoda

a very young ville de lyon

a very young ville de lyon

Polish SPirit on the new fence

Polish SPirit on the new fence

etoilee violette in crabapple tree

etoilee violette in crabapple tree

etoille violette

etoille violette

comtesse de bouchaud

comtesse de bouchaud

Betty corning

Betty corning

c. roguchi

c. roguchi

Betty Corning

Betty Corning

either Rosemoor or Niobe

either Rosemoor or Niobe

Polish Spirit on bench arbor

Polish Spirit on bench arbor

bud of integrifolia 'Rosea'

bud of integrifolia ‘Rosea’

Star River

Star River

Elsa Spaeth

Elsa Spaeth

Huldine

Huldine

DSC_0006

Gravetye Beauty

Gravetye Beauty

sold to me as c. hexapetala but probably c.recta

sold to me as c. hexapetala but probably c.recta

 

 

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BLOOMBLAHYUCK gets turned on its ear

comtesseOff and on I participate in something called Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. It is the brainchild of Carol over at maydreamsgardens.com , and bloggers who want to play along post on the 15th of the month about what is blooming in their neck of the woods and the posts are all linked on Carol’s blog for everyone to view. It is fun to see what is going on in other areas of our country, and even in some distant lands, as bloggers from other countries are welcome to link and often do.  It is also a nice record to have personally . If I manage to keep up with my postings I can scroll back through time and see what has been going on in the gardens on a month by month basis.

Some months the 15th happens and I am completely in a fog and don’t get around to posting. Some months, like this one, I feel like “BLAHBLAHBLAHFLOWERSGARDENBLAHBLOOMBLAHYUCK”. Why this happens? Who’s to know. Boredom. malaise, the feeling of ‘been there, done that’, etc etc. October is also a very busy for my speaking business and having to go out and talk about the garden and plants means less time for he garden and plants and also lends itself to feeling the aforementioned feeling BLAHBLAHBLAHFLOWERSGARDENBLAHBLOOMBLAHYUCK.

BUT…even though I missed the date completely, I could not miss the opportunity to do a little happy dance online about said garden and one plant in particular because it is so remarkable. The weather here has been delightful, and by this I mean days in the 60s and nights staying very warm mostly in the high 40s and 50s. We have had a few scattered light frosts, but they have only affected the coldest most exposed parts of the gardens and actually helped the other parts providing very dramatic fall colors and the romantic look of a frosty garden without the freezing to black death part. Usually by now the last of the clematis are just finishing. Clematis ternifora, or Sweet Autumn as it is commonly known ,is the latest clematis to start blooming, and it is typically accompanied by a few stragglers on Pope John Paul II and maybe Ville de Lyon or Elsa Spath. This year however, the Comtesse de Bouchard out front began another round of blooming AFTER the Sweet Autumn started and is still blooming now. A very rare and very wonderful treat for me.039

What makes it even better is that the variegated garden phlox ‘Nora Leigh’ that the Comtesse winds her way through has also decided in solidarity to continue blooming even though the cold temps have been affecting her foliage . What a team player ! Thank you Nora Leigh, your commitment to making this garden all it can be is duly noted.042

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Plant Profile: Clematis ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’

mrsr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although clematis ‘Mrs Robert Brydon’ does not make my “Top 10 Clematis” list, it does, in fact, place pretty high up on my “Must Have Plant” list. Let’s go over the reasons, shall we?

-It is a superb non twining ground cover plant that will quickly cover the space under the shrubs in your border with it’s lovely disease free leaves

-It can also be tied up onto a trellis, bird netting, a pole, or any other vertical object you have handy

-It will scramble happily down a berm, hill, or even better cascade over a rock wall

-It is definitely on the “Top 10 Easiest to Grow” clematis list

–It will grow in many light conditions and is fairly drough tolerant once established

-It is a breeze to propagate via cuttings , your gardening friends will love you if you give them this plant

-It blooms late in the season ( late July to Sept) when so many other things in the garden are winding down

The only reason it does not place among my top ten clematis is generally  plants earn their space  there because they  have a very long bloom time and sadly this one does not.  I may reconsider that though as the foliage on this one never browns or gets any foliar disease which more than makes up for a shorter flowering time.

For years I have struggled with the correct name of this clematis. It has dubious parentage and I have seen it for sale under many names including clematis heracleifolia x jouiniana ,  clematis x jouiniana ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon’, clematis jouiniana var. davidiana ‘Mrs Robert Brydon’ but thankfully the International Clematis Registry at Hull University has it now listed as plainly clematis ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon. Whew.

I love that the name conjures up the  old fashioned practice of calling a married woman by her husbands name, not because I am a believer in the oppression of the fairer sex , I did not even legally take Wil’s name I just sort of added it  on to mine to avoid confusion for the kids when they were in school and may ditch it when they are done. I just like the thought , however imagined it may be, of a graceful and charming world with proper manners , polite conversation  where you are adressed as such, and maybe a white glove or two thrown in for good measure.  Actually my garden club has only recently disbanded the practice of having our members listed as “Mrs. Husbands Name and Surname” making me Mrs. William Monroe which is funny and maybe just a bit ironic.006

Back to the clematis, ‘Mrs. Robert Brydon ‘ is a dream to take care of. It will get pruned to 8-12 inches in the springtime, but since, as its various names all suggest, it is herbaceous , it may have already pruned itself for you by dying back to the ground over the winter. It will grow pretty slowly at first eventually getting  large leaves on stems that are 6-8 feet long. When it flowers, which is happening right now here in The Burrow, it is spectacular. The flowers are the loveliest shade of white-ish blue, a color I find dreamy in the garden and are massed along the top third of the plant.

I have seen this plant frothing over a stone wall, tied up at the base so it looked like a hydrangea bush, trained onto fences and poles and here I created a berm for it to sprawl down( bottom photo)) in the Dogs Garden and it romps all through shrubs and other plants like this  variegated weigela in the rock garden ( below ) and in all instances it looked phenomenal.007016

 

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Pairings

Isn’t it funny how sometimes when two things are paired up together  the whole is greater than the sum of  it’s parts? This holds true for   Cheryl and Bill ( a superb pairing if I do say so myself lol, our 26th anniversary was Thursday), beer and pretzels, pinot grigiot and seafood dishes, any dessert topped with made from scratch whipped cream, and boy I am hungry and in need of drink! I am sure Aristotle, from whom this quote was taken, had far more altruistic things in mind, but I have no problem borrowing his phrase and applying it to my own happiness, including the over the top pairing of roses and clematis.

Right now both plants are secondary stars in the garden as the peonies are blooming and no bloom no how takes away from their little bomb of joy. But when roses and clematis  are growing intertwined and cozy they certainly stand heads and shoulders above their counterparts growing alone.

Here are a few pictures of rose/clematis combinations I use here  in the Burrow huld

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I am also including a glam shot of  some of the  peonies  because , well ,they deserve their moment of fame. 004

On the pairing side you can see one paired up with sweet peas, a stellar combo  I will repeat. DSC_0012 (2)

Furthermore , because who can get enough of great plant pairings?? , I give you 009

a container with coral Magic carpet rose and Lucia Dark Blue lobelia

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Double pink Knockout roses grown as a standard above a boxwood hedge017 (5)

 

 and that same rose underplanted with this bright smiley orange pansy001

 

and last a peony ( unknown division given to me  by my sister) growing with nepata ( the clematis to the right is c.texensis’Gravetye Beauty)

happy Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. Head on over to maydreamsgardens.com to see what going on in other great gardens!

 

 

 

 

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Let’s talk Clematis

Hard to believe that we are back in the swing of things so quickly around here. Lazy snow bound days are gone , replaced by full 8 or more hour days cleaning, cutting back, weeding, edging , mulching, dividing, planting, sowing, shopping…are there any  - INGS that I missed?  I hope not because my plate already feels pretty full thank you very much.

Let’s talk about clematis, how they should look, what you should expect and what to do if there are problems.

First , the emergence thing. Around here we have had some delightfully warm weather so any clematis that are group 2 ( which I won’t even come near with clippers untl after the first flush of blooms) are all leafing out and I even have two , Elsa Spath and Omishoro , covered in ready to open buds.002

If you have group two clematis growing in your New England yard , you should be seeing lots of signs of life . If  you see stems that are definitly dead or broken off the mama plant, by all means prune them. otherwise WALK AWAY and wait to enjoy the show. Pruning now, no matter how tempting, will cause loss flowers and that is a sad thing indeed.

If you have group 1 clematis , like montana or alpina, they should also be ready to put on their spring show. I struggle with these vines here becuase they bloom only on old wood and almost every year no matter what I do the varmints cut them off for me in the winter.  Some day  a solution will occur in my little brain, but for now they are foliage plants. grrr and ugh.

If you have group 3 clematis that bloom later on in the season , many of these are just slowly starting to stretch and yawn and greet the day ( sweet autumn, any of the viticella or texensis hybrids, and the late blooming large flowered hybrids ) .If you have not already, cut your group 3 clematis down to about a foot tall so they will throw out lots of new growth which is where their blooms  will be, Leaving them unpruned will result in long vines with flowers only at the tops. Boring! Go get the clippers please.005

Herbaceous clematis , the ones that die back to the ground and have no climbing mechanism, should also be showing new growth by now ( c. recta, integrefolia, and heracliefolia).  Clean away any old stems and leaves just like you would with any other herbaceous perennial.

Then there are those whose liveliness is in question,   I have a few here every year that are way behind their peers in  emerging and I always get a little antsy. But then I remember someone telling me when my kids were little and I was stressed when they were not on par with others their age in milestones ( especially the  dreaded potty training) that all kids developed at their own pace and as long as they were out of diapers by the time they went to school I should not fret so much. Point taken, there are no absolutes in any aspect of life, so a little  leeway is in order.

Carefully look around the base of the plant in question , do you see any sign of shoots coming from the soil? You can prod  little in the soil and look closer, but do do very gently. I give my lackluster growers a little diluted fertilizer . Patience is also helpful.

Case in point, I had given up on my c. trinternata rubrimarginata for this year. rub Two years ago  we had an episode where the irrigation system was missing a whole chunk of garden and many plants there were lost. The rubrimarinata was alive, but barely clinging to life , and this year repeated checks showed no growth. I ordered a replacement, and of course when I dug down deep enough to excavate, there was the crown of the old plant happily starting to shoot out new growth. A little swearing may have ensued, but I carried on and took out the struggling plant, put in the new one, and move the stressed one to a happy compost filled location where it will be babied until it is thriving again.

As for any clematis you have that overwintered in containers or that are growing in shady locations,  don’t even bother poking around just yet. They are the last of the bunch to re-emerge , but just wait, don’t touch and don’t worry.

It is also safe here to plant any new clematis you bought now. Make sure to follow my planting instructions ( crown set 2-3 inches below soil line before mulching) , and water them if rainfall is not abundant.

Last but not least my indoor clematis, c.florida is entering week 18 of flowering. I had to trim some of it today to free up some of the houseplants it was engulfing so they could get repotted for their summer vacation outsoors. Truthfully, I had to wash the window it was covering too so we could see outside . When it ever winds dowm I will cut it back and repot it like the other plants to spend the summer  season on the porch.

 

 

 

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Grow Clematis as a Houseplant?

…Oh yes you can!

Given my perfectly well founded frustration with houseplants, I find it  just delightful to discover that clematis can be grown indoors. Thanks to clematis breeder Ray Envision, there are now clematis plants that are as equally happy indoors as out. Ray and his team have a  new-ish series called “Garland Clematis” that will happily sit on your south facing sunny windowsill and twist and twine and then bloom profusely for about 8 weeks IN THE WINTER! How awesome is that.

There is another series, designed for compact growth  and ideal for indoor growing as well, called the “Boulevard Series”, that will  bloom indoors in the winter, but then it is suggested that you cut them back and plant them outdoors in the spring for the best results.

The only bump in the road, as these plants are very easy to care for as long as they are getting enough sun, is availability.

If you lived in the UK, Ray would happily ship you lovely pots of clematis in bud/bloom for your indoor growing pleasure. If you live stateside, it is a crapshoot as to where and if you may find them.

Often Dan over at Brushwood  Vines will usually have one or more in his catalogue listings. The downside of ordering them from here is they are not shipped as in bud/bloom house plants so you must pot them up with a small obelisk or other structure and grow them on yourself.

Many years around Mother’s Day I have seen them in local florists to be sold as gift plants, although they are usually only  clematis florida. Clematis florida is a pretty small climber, usually topping out at  6 ft and staying pretty slender as clematis vines go. The lovely pearly tepals seem to be at odds with the very prominent and “in your face” dark purple stamens and anthers, which also curve inwardly  resembling a spider that has recently gone on to meet it’s maker ( as seen in the Monroe basement on a regular basis).

Currently, clematis florida is making a winter statement in the Monroe picture window where it has been left to it’s own devices to twine around whatever it can grab on to. It has a friend, a bare root start that was not ready for planting in the ground this year ( and whose identity I have forgotten) that has joined in the twining fun but has yet to form buds. In the spring the “friend” will get planted in the garden, but clematis florida is best as an indoor or conservatory plant so it will summer out on the porch and return , as it did this September, to the family room.

I have found that the early bloomers, like clematis macropletala and clematis alpina will generally bloom indoors around the same time they would bloom outdoors which would be in very very early spring, providing  a great boost to your winter weary spirits .You can see Queen of the Houseplant-Tovah Martin’s clematis here.

No matter which variety you try,you can be sure any clematis blooming indoors will remind you wistfully of warm summer days , even if you currently have your face pressed against a cold window pane staring out at new fallen snow :)

 

 

 

 

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