My favorite flowering vines are, without a doubt, Clematis. The first one that I remember seeing was back in 1992-93, in Niagara Falls, Ontario. I was visiting Niagara Falls with some family members and we had just driven back across the Rainbow Bridge from having lunch in Niagara Falls, NY. When we got back to Niagara Falls, Ontario, we drove up a neighborhood street and passed a house that had a two-story fireplace chimney in the front of the house. The entire chimney was covered in deep purple flowers. I had never seen a vine with so many flowers, especially ones that climbed two stories.
It took me a number of years to figure out it had to have been a Clematis. Growing up I don’t remember ever seeing a Clematis in my neighborhood or city, for that matter. I grew up just beyond the edge of the Mojave Desert and dry hot climates are not really the best climate to grow Clematis. Even though we would have snow and freezing temperatures during the winter, for whatever reason, it seems that Clematis plants hadn’t found their way to our community.
I was determined to grow a Clematis and since I was unable to find one in a local nursery here in Las Vegas, I ordered one from an on-line website. I don’t remember the name of the clematis, but it had a white flower and I grew it in a container, on two different patios at apartments I lived in. For my first foray into growing Clematis it did okay for a few years, before eventually dying.
When I moved into my home in 1993 I really started my collection of Clematis plants. Las Vegas has the worst soil; hard, compact, nutrient deficient and hot in the summer. There was no way a Clematis was going to survive being planted directly in the soil. So I bought a purple Clematis and planted it in a large terracotta container and placed it next to a post, partially under my patio cover (as you can see below)
I gave this clematis a serious prunning late last fall. It grew back this spring with much more vigor than it has had in the past few years and I am trying to get it to climb up the patio post again. It will likely take another year or so to reach the top of the patio. I have wires placed every few inches for it to attach to while it climbs.
I have a Jackmanii Clematis growing on the East side of my house. It is in a plastic container and grows up the side of the house attaching itself to some wires I have placed for it to climb on. This year I noticed the Jackmanii had one flower that had five petals, instead of the usual four. I’m not sure what caused it to produce the five-petalled flower, but it was an interesting variation to see.
A couple of years ago, I added a new Clematis to my back yard and planted it in a half-whiskey barrel and placed it under a trellis to climb up. This Violet Blue Clematis has performed the best of any Clematis in my yard so far. Last year it was still getting the occasional bloom through December. I think it might be The President variety, but I am not sure as I misplaced the plant tag that came with it.
I’ve added four new varieties of Clematis to my yard this year. The one below has only produced a single flower. I am going to try to get it to grow up the backside of a block wall separating my front and back yards and then cascade over to the front yard. It is planted it a plastic container with a pole for it to climb up. The flower has been out for well over a week and seems to change in appearance daily.
The other three varieties I have added to my yard this year are all planted in a clay container in my front yard. I placed a tall metal trellis in the back of the container for them to grow on. I planted two Pinky™, one Snow Queen and one Suzie Mac™, that I bought from Roseville Farms. I have purchased several clematis in the past from on-line sellers and I would recommend Roseville Farms unconditionally.
The Clematis arrived with the stems just at the surface of the planting medium. I left them inside my house for a week until I had time to plant them outside and knew I would be around long enough to take care of them. Within a few days the clematis were 2-3 inches tall. After planting them in the container they continued to do well and are now between 2 and 3 feet tall. Each of the clematis have produced between one and three flowers so far and I will be trimming them in a week or two to encourage new growth at the bottom of the plants. It will be hard to trim them as they are doing so well, but it will benefit the plants in the long run and will produce fuller plants with more blooms in the future.
These Clematis plants and flowers can be seen in the following three pictures.
Below is the container and trellis with the Pinky™ Clematis flowering at the top, a Suzy Mac Clematis in the middle and a Snow Queen Clematis at the bottom of the trellis.
One of my most unusual Clematis I have is a florida Sieboldii. The creamy white bi-color clematis with purple centers is stunning. I have only had it for two years and it is growing, slowly. It had five or six blooms this year. I have it growing a few feet away from the Jackmanii and it will climb on the same wires I have for the Jackmanii, at the side of my house. I think the combination as it gets bigger, of the Jackmanii with the florida Sieboldii will be beautiful.
If you do a search for “Clematis Images” you will find dozens of Clematis, I am sure you would enjoy in your yard. The variety in color, shapes, textures, and size will amaze you.
Clematis do well paired with other plants, whether it be a climbing rose, the trunk of a tree or on lattice or other structures. They prefer to have their roots shaded but be able to grow into the sun with six hours of sun or filtered sun, in hotter climates.
Although they aren’t often for sale at nurseries here in Las Vegas, you can ordered them on-line and grow them successfully in containers. Clematis are a welcome addition to any yard.
To learn more about Clematis or to purchase one from Roseville Farms visit the websites below:
- Roseville Farms (www.clematis.com)
- Wikipedia – Clematis
- Gardener’s Supply Company – How to Grow Clematis
- White Flower Farm – Growing Guide Clematis (Includes pruning tips for Group I, II and III Clematis)
- Oregon State University Extension Service – Three requirements to grow clematis vines