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Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Clematis

The very first velvety vine coloured flower of C. montana

Clematises are so beautiful that their popularity never diminish. New cultivars have been produced all the time and we always find the place for yet another plant in our gardens. They are ideal for vertical gardening aspect, climbing through the bushes or roses and conquering the trellis and arches.
In my experience, they are not so easy to grow. They sometimes wilt without noticeable reason though they are usually attacked by fungal diseases. In first years of growing they establish the root and it seems as they are growing too slow but, that is natural. Once they establish themselves, they will grow more quickly. 
Firstly, they need to be planted correctly. They need fertile, rich soil with a good drainage. The important thing is to bury the crown at least 5 cm into ground. This will encourage more stems growing from the base. The spot needs to be sunny though there are cultivars adopted to partial shade.

unknown, with large flowers

As I love to say, Clematis loves warm head and cold feet. The best way to do it is to plant some other broad leaved plant near the clematis to cast the shade on it's roots. Sprinkling super-phosphate around the plant will encourage flower production. 
Pruning can be another tricky moment in cultivating clematis but usually, you only have to know what type of clematis you have. Clematises are divided into three groups according to the pruning mode. 
Group 1: early flowering (e.g. C. montana, C. alpina, C. macropetala) need no pruning. Some shearing and tiding up may be necessary if they grow too large and stems look a mess.
Group 2: large-flowered varieties that flower on last year's shoots (e.g. 'The President', C. jackmanii) have to be pruned in late winter and after the first flowering. They may flower once more in a season.

Group 3: flower in summer on shoots grown in that season (e.g. C. viticella). As they make new shoot every season, they need to be cut back hard to the lower pair of healthy buds.

central part of a flower

Clematis viticella 

Clematis viticella produce a mass of pendulous blue flowers throughout the summer. It doesn't twines itself around the support and has to grow through the bushes to hold itself. Climbing species usually twine around the support by making a stem loop.

Usual care of clematis includes fertilizing in spring and in summer, regular watering (especially during dry spells) and a proper pruning.




1 comment:

  1. Great article. I have two that I planted at the front of the house. One is thriving, the other barely growing. They seem to be in equal environments. I will move the one to another place. And I had read someplace: if it blooms before June, do not prune. I try to rely on tag to tell me what to do.

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