Photo by David Longron.


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.

Few vines can compete with the showy clematis. Photo by David Longron.

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.

‘Jackmanii’ clematis. Photo by Russell Studebaker.

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.

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