Clematis, queen of vines

Clematis vine

Clematis is a vining, climbing flower which is beautiful thanks to its blooming.

Key Clematis facts

NameClematis
FamilyRanunculaceae
Type – vine

Height – 6 to 40 feet (2 to 12 meters)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – deep and cool

Foliage: deciduous or evergreen  –   Flowering: March to October

The planting, pruning and caring for clematis are as many small things to do that will considerably increase the blooming.

Planting clematis

The planting of clematis is either done in fall or spring, as long as it doesn’t freeze, in a blend of garden soil and soil mix.

Something really important is that the base of the plant must stay in the shade. Plant other flowers around the base to cover it and keep it cool.

If the base is in direct sun, (ie., sunlight hits the root collar), then cover it with an old tile or a few odd rocks.

  • Clematis plantingPlant the foot of the plant about 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm) from the lattice or structure you expect it to climb along.
  • Lean the young seedling towards the wall or lattice that it will hang from later on.
  • Backfill the hole with a blend of soil mix and garden soil. If the soil is very heavy, add in ⅓ river sand.
  • Fertilize the plant right at the moment of planting with a little compost or dehydrated manure: this will allow for stronger growth.

Potted clematis:

Clematis in a potGrowing clematis in a pot is child’s play.

Practically, certain varieties like Clematis alpina are better suited to it because of their slow growth.

  • Proper flower plant soil mix is required.
  • The pot must have a drainage hole at the bottom
  • Make sure it’s wide wide enough, at least 16 inches across (40 cm).
  • Repotting every 2 or 3 years will be a necessity for your potted clematis to keep growing and blooming.

Propagating clematis

Clematis is quite uncomplicated, and can be done in various manners like cuttings, layering or grafting.

Generally, clematis vines are very hardy, especially at root level. They’re well-suited to most temperate climates, since they grow back from the stump even if airborne parts were frozen stiff.

Caring for clematis

This vine isn’t difficult to care for, and as years come and go, care just gets easier and easier. A little water and fertilizer (optional) will boost growth and blooming.

Watering clematis:

Clematis, wateringWatering will help over the 2 first years, but no need to add fertilizer. Doesn’t this make it easy to care for?

Also important is to water in case of dry weather because moist and cool soil is what clematis prefers.

  • In pots, water regularly, especially in summer
  • Maintain moisture in the soil.
  • Always protect the base of the plant with a tile or shingle or stone to keep it cool.

Clematis pruning and training

Pruning is a requirement to boost blooming and branching out.

  • The more clematis is pruned, the more it bears flowers!

Caring for clematisAlways prune after the blooming, or you’ll miss out on flowers for an entire year.

  • Usually it is performed at the end of winter, sometime in February before the spring vegetation goes into gear.
  • Cut back stems that have born flowers during the previous year, so that they’re about 20 inches (50 cm) from the ground.
  • Cut back completely dead wood and the weakest stems.

For small-flowered clematis (spring blooming), prune in summer after the flowers have wilted away, eliminating dead wood and stems that are gobbling up too much space. Also cut back older stems by ⅓.

All there is to know about clematis

Clematis varietiesThis climbing vine’s unique characteristic is an abundant and generous flower-bearing. Not all are fragrant – well, not significantly so – but some clematis vines smell delicious.

Pretty hardy, clematis will resist cold and freezing down to the vicinity of 14°F (-10°C).

The diversity you’ll encounter when looking up available varieties will stun you. There’s a wide range of colors and shapes, and also 2 distinct blooming seasons: one in spring and the other in summer. Some species even bloom in winter, like Clematis cirrhosa.

Clematis offers a wide scope of sizes, the smallest maxing out at 8 feet (2.5 m) tall, and others climbing up to over 32 feet (10 meters).

There are also clematis that have large or small flowers, too. In the end, ’tis like having to choose from a kaleidoscope of varieties, each as appealing as the next.

Clematis are decidedly deserving of their nickname: Queen of vines.

From the list of interesting species and cultivars, take note of Clematis armandii, Clematis alpina and Clematis montana.

Smart tip about clematis

You can attach your clematis to a lattice to ensure it develops the way you want it to!


Images: 123RF: Elena Loginova, photopw; dreamstime: Peter; Pixabay: Anja, Dr. Carl Russel