Story by David Longron
A long-time favorite, clematis (usually pronounced kle-MATIS in the South, but actually, proper pronunciation is KLEM-atis) is a flowering vine that is sometime disparaged as “overused.” The reason that it is used so frequently is because few others can match its showy, sometimes up to 6 inches across, flowers that bloom in profusion from late spring to summer and sometimes beyond.
One of the oldest and most popular cultivars is ‘Jackmanii’, a cross of C. lanuginose and C. viticella, developed in the mid 1800s. But there are dozens of other types in a variety of colors – from white to deep purple or shades of pink and red. Clematis can be allowed to trail, but are best displayed vertically on a fence, post, or trellis.
Quick Facts and Keys to Success
Common Name: Clematis
Botanical Name: Clematis (most will be hybrids)
Color: Various: including white, purple, pink, red, and bicolor
Zones: 4-8 (some varieties not hardy in northern parts of the state)
Blooming Period: Late spring to summer. Some into fall.
Type: Perennial vine
Exposure: Sun to partial shade. Root zone should be protected from hot afternoon sun by underplantings or mulch.
Soil: Moist, well drained
Maintenance: Most varieties bloom on old and new growth. Prune to shape. Older plants may need heavy pruning.
Uses: Background plant on fences or showy specimen on a pole or arbor.