Longest blooming clematis zone 5

Clematis—Follow the Rules & Your Vines Will Flourish

Q. Mike: My husband and I had our front yard and flowerbeds landscaped last May. One of the plants put in was a purple clematis, to climb up a light pole in the yard. It looked fine for a few months, but then some leaves started to get black spots. We sprayed with antifungal spray and clipped off the diseased portions, but eventually it all dried and we cut it down to the roots. We would like to have something growing in that spot this year but are not sure whether to wait for the clematis to try to grow back, replace it with another clematis, or give up on clematis and try something else. Thank you!

    —Emilie in Springfield, Delaware County, PA

A. There are two basic rules with clematis, explains my old friend Raymond Evison, breeder of some of the finest modern varieties of this flowering vine. One is that it is never found alone in nature—it’s always growing up and into another plant. The second rule is related to the first: “Head in the sun and roots in the shade.” To bloom well, Clematis must be able to stretch up into full sun, but to survive summer, its roots have to be in the cool protection of shade. In the wild, growing up a big plant like a rhododendron provides both the sun up top and the shade down below.

Now, clematis is occasionally plagued by a plant-specific wilt that destroys the plant from the base up, and last year was very wet in Emilie’s part of the country AND she says that her vine was professionally planted and a landscaper SHOULD know to shade the roots. Of course, landscapers should also know not to feed Northern lawns in the summer, not to prune anything in the fall and not to mound mulch up against the bark of a tree. Hmmmm; Emilie—did your clematis have support and a cool shady base?

Emilie replies: It had support to climb and its top was in full sun, but the roots were also in full sun. We learned halfway thru the summer that it liked “cool feet” and added some plants around it, but it may have been too late.

A. OK—that’s strike four. You may want to slap that landscaper around a little bit. At the least, they owe you a new plant. And considering the location, I’m thinking it should be a different kind of climber.

Q. I have a white clematis vine that has not produced any flowers the last two years. It faces north but receives good morning sun. The vine is about five years old and flowered well the first three years. Two years ago I cut it back and it didn’t flower. Last year I did not cut it back and it still did not flower. Can you give me some suggestions on this pesky plant?

    —Diane Buck in Milwaukee, WI

A. Well, you don’t say when the flowers used to appear or what time of year you cut it back. But if you followed the unfortunate advice of many American garden writers and cut it back in the fall to {quote} “clean up the garden”, you’re lucky it’s still alive.

The aforementioned Raymond Evison—who I believe is part clematis himself—has some good pruning advice at his website. What I like most about Raymond’s advice is that he refers to the bloom time as well as the type of clematis in timing any pruning.

As with virtually all plants that bloom in Spring, the best time—make that the only time—to prune clematis vines that bloom early in the season is right after the flowers fade. Same as with azalea, rhododendron, forsythia, lilacs and all the other shrubs of Spring. Remember, if a plant blooms early in the Spring, it means the buds were already there; prune it in the fall or winter and you cut those buds off. Raymond adds that pruning of most spring bloomers is not necessary to get a good show; the only reason to prune a basic type of spring blooming clematis is if it’s getting too big. You wish.

But Raymond adds that certain Spring bloomers—one with especially large or double flowers—are an exception; these types bloom better if they get a little haircut at the end of winter to remove any dead or damaged parts. Just a little trim, mind you, and stagger the cuts for the best show.

Finally, Raymond’s site says to cut summer flowering clematis back to—what’s this? “Thirty centimeters above the soil line in late winter/early Spring”?! Raymond—centimeters? This an American gardening show, pal! Grumble, grumble…. Where’s that double-sided ruler of mine? Here it is. OK, that’s about a foot. Geez Ray—next time, just say so!

Anyway, if it wasn’t the pruning what held back your flowers, it’s probably lack of light. “Morning sun” sounds suspiciously like a synonym for shade to me, and if the top of your vine isn’t getting at least six hours of sun a day, it probably isn’t getting enough. But if it is—or if its getting somewhere close to six hours—try mixing a cup of bone meal into its soil this Spring, then cover the bone meal with an inch of compost. And maybe prune back a few nearby plants to let a bit more sunshine in at the top while still shading the base..

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Prune Clematis for Top to Bottom Blooms, this is not a general clematis pruning guideline but how to renovate an overgrown or spindly growing one.

Again I need to repeat, this is not how you prune your clematis generally. This post is really about one way to renovate clematis that may be blooming all on top but down below is bare vines yet you don’t want to cut it all off at once. This is my Warsaw Nike clematis. It is in Group 3, a Summer bloomer that blooms on new wood on into Fall. (it is often sold as Group 2)

So let’s get to it and prune clematis for top to bottom bloom!

PIN for later

Which Clematis Pruning Group

This method will also work on Group 1 & 2, you may sacrifice some blooms on any of them the first season after the renovation prune but it will give you top to bottom blooms. In the long run you get more blooms and a prettier plant.

Note: if you have a group 1 clematis do some research on the particular named variety. Each one can have unique preferences on pruning. But if you only prune back some canes as I show here then you should be fine on most.

When to Prune Clematis

This method can be done from November on into March. I choose November as I can access mine then, come any later and the ground could be covered in snow until June.
(when starting a new garden I do so in Fall as noted in this article, Start a Lazy Gal’s Garden)

This past Summer my Warsaw only bloomed way high at the top and did not re-bloom as prolifically as years prior.

Notice the tangle at the top of the lattice and on the porch rails. If you follow it down you note the bare woody vines towards the base.

How to Prune Clematis

I start by cutting the entire top back by a third. I just used the porch floor as my guideline and cut across the tangle of vines.

This helps me to see which vines come from which canes at the bottom.

The bottom near the ground is overgrown with other plants which I need to remove to get a clear picture of the base of the clematis and what I am working with. All those plants need to be removed.

Nothing here is dear so I start yanking them out and tossing into the compost bucket. (note: if you struggle with a fungus that can kill back clematis do not compost your vines)

Clearing it all away shows me this…

There are 5 strong woody vines coming from the base and one small one that is very limber.

I pull the skinny limber one to the side so as not to accidentally cut it during my foray with the pruners.

Later you will see what I am going to do with that long skinny vine

I cut one of the thick canes back to the ground then one 12 inches from the ground.

Right now my favorite pruners are these Fiskars Bypass Pruning Shears, and for larger vines I use the Loppers (these came in really handy when I pruned back the larger canes on my Climbing Rose)

This will encourage new growth lower on the clematis. New growth is a good thing on a type 3 clematis since they bloom on new growth.

The next cane, the center one is cut at about 3 feet long.

The cane on the left is one I left longer, it goes in behind the trellis and comes out at the base of the porch floor.

The cane on the right actually goes behind the trellis and snakes over to the right side and back out around the corner, I left it to emerge from the other side but cut it back to the floor base as well.

Why Prune Clematis at Different Lengths

By cutting the canes at the different lengths I will get new growth and blooms all along the plant from the base all the way to the top.

If you only have 1 or 2 vines coming from the ground, cut it to about 6 inches from the ground. Cutting it will encourage your clematis to send up more vines from the root.

With new clematis I cut it back the first two growing seasons so it sends up lots of vines from the root.

What did I do With the Last Vine?

So what did I do with the last vine left on the ground?

I buried it along the ground, not deep, just under the soil..you can see the leaves on the left and under the bare dirt is the vine.

This will stay this way all winter and if everything goes as planned it will root in more than one spot along the vine…

like this one below…I know it doesn’t look that convincing but towards the center where there are some brownish leaves is a clematis that rooted where it touched the ground.

I will dig this up and replant it elsewhere after severing the vine from the mother plant.

This is called layering..see all about how I propagate Clematis by Layering here. You will love it!

The video attached to this post is how I spring prune my clematis.

UPDATE: to see what is happening now (Mar/Apr) with this Clematis Update on my Clematis

More Posts You May Enjoy
Spring Prune Your Clematis
Grow Clematis
Build an Easy Garden Obelisk (great for letting your clematis climb)

Happy Gardening!

Summer Blooming Clematis – Types Of Clematis That Bloom In Summer

Clematis is one of the most versatile and showy blooming vines available. The variety of flower size and shape is staggering with new cultivars and collectables coming out annually. You can actually have a clematis show nearly year around if you avail yourself of the winter-, spring- and summer-flowering clematis varieties. Summer-blooming clematis are not as common as the spring bloomers, but there are some exciting varieties that can have you enjoying cascades of vines and flowers until fall.

Vertical color shows provide zing to the landscape and clematis is one of the best plants to grow for such displays. Summer-flowering clematis varieties may bloom only in June and July, or they may last until fall. The types of clematis that bloom in summer are divided into vining and non-vining types. Each has a unique growth habit, yet still the stunning colorful blooms. If you are tired of your spring bloomers peaking out by spring’s end and want clematis flowers for summer, try some of the following species.

Vining Summer-Blooming Clematis

Vining varieties are climbing and will require support. Some examples of summer clematis types that are vining are Sweet Autumn and Durand. Sweet Autumn has tiny flowers that are sweetly scented. Durand is a big bloomer with lavender blue flowers that are 4 inches across.

If you want even bigger flowers, try Elsa Spath. Her blooms get 6 to 8 inches across on 8- to 12-inch long vines.

Some other notable vining summer-blooming clematis are:

  • Henryi
  • Jackmani
  • Mrs. Cholmondeley

Non-Vining Summer Clematis Types

Non-vining clematis are useful in a perennial garden or as stand-alone specimens in containers. Instead of long vining stems, these plants produce bushy compact forms.

  • Solitary clematis is a diminutive example of bushy summer clematis types. It is only 18 to 24 inches tall and wide, and has lavender flowers with ivory centers. It will bloom well into fall.
  • Tube clematis has blue funnel-shaped blooms, a 3- to 4-foot-tall bush and blooms in August until early fall.
  • Mongolian Gold blooms in late summer. It is drought tolerant and cold hardy. The plant gets 3 feet high and is covered in a mass of 1-inch deep yellow, fragrant flowers.

Other Types of Clematis That Bloom in Summer

Enjoying clematis flowers for summer also requires the proper pruning. Most summer bloomers get pruned in late winter to early spring. The amount of material you take off depends on the type of plant.

Those with large flowers are pruned hard to 18 inches from the soil line. The early summer varieties should be pruned lightly and selectively.

Some types of clematis that bloom in summer and get a hard pruning would be:

  • Gypsy Queen
  • Jackmani
  • Mrs. Cholmondeley
  • Rouge Cardinal

Those that need light pruning might be:

  • Ville de Lyon
  • Niobe
  • Madame Edouard Andre

Oddly, one summer bloomer, Ramona, needs no pruning to produce its sky blue 6- to 8-inch flowers.

allan becker*garden guru

Clematis AllanahTrellised walls, latticed fences and arches are prominent features in many flower gardens. Some are covered with climbing roses, some with flowering vines such as Clematis, and some with both. The combination of Roses and Clematis blooming together is beautiful. However, I am not inclined to train Roses to climb on trellises. More about that further down.

Clematis Comtesse de BouchardMature Clematis vines are visually and emotionally satisfying for the perennial gardener because they supply a wall or a pillar of colored blooms whose visual impact cannot be duplicated by any other perennial. That is because they bloom at, and above, eye level and they are densely floriferous for the garden space they occupy.

Clematis Gypsy QueenWhen a neighbor installed a brown, latticed privacy fence to separate our respective properties, I intended to plant climbing roses to camouflage this unsightly divider.

Clematis JackmaniiThen, fellow garden blogger, Eileen, at Gatsby’s Gardens reminded me that training a climbing rose bush was a daunting effort. She cautioned me that the thorns on the branches of the rose climbers might gash a gardener’s skin, even when hands are gloved. Her information was enough to turn me away from rose climbers. I decided to focus on Clematis vines, instead.

Clematis Pink fantasyChoosing Clematis can be overwhelming for me because I want to control bloom time. I am not happy with those that flowers for only one month or those that return to flourish again in late summer or fall.

Clematis Star of IndiaI prefer a continuous output of flowers. In order to dial down the disappointment and stress that occur when Clematis fail to perform, I researched a wish list of some better know cultivars that bloom reliably for longer periods and I have posted their pictures in this blog. Online data revealed that all in this selection begin flowering either in June or July and remain in bloom until September. I hope that data is correct.

Clematis Ville de LyonEach season, I will add one or two more of these varieties to my garden until the brown fence has been camouflaged. Specifically for this project, I will focus on the hotter shades that blend well with the color brown. C. Red Cardinal appears to be the most effective for this purpose.

Clematis AbundanceI have read many blog entries from other gardeners who confess that they ignore the rules of pruning Clematis until the vines become too woody or stop blooming.

Clematis Little NellThis spring will be the first time that I will have pruned one of my older Clematis, although I admit this should have been done two years ago, on its 10th birthday, when the dense bloom crop began to taper off.

Clematis MinuetWhen I saw my first Clematis growing in a friend’s garden, I noticed that he had used twine to attach the earliest year’s growth to a trellis.

Clematis Polish SpiritAt the outset of the following season, subsequent growth would be draped over last year’s vines and they would attach themselves to the closest twig. Then, without the need for twine, most of the Clematis vines were able to attach themselves to the older brush as they grew taller. Renegade shoots that grow away may be delicately woven by hand into the top layer of older vines. It takes very little contact with a narrow object for a Clematis vine to securely wrap its petioles around it for permanent support.

Clematis HenryiThis family of plants does test gardeners’ endurance because it blooms sparsely for the first two years. It is only in their third year that Clematis rewards us for our patience with impressive flowering displays.

Clematis Red CardinalI focus on those plants that are richly hued because I want them to project from a distance. There is always some disappointment with those almost-pastel cultivars that appear colorful in photos but are bleached by strong daylight. It is difficult to control for that problem as the sun hits each garden, and each spot in a garden, differently. In the case of C. Henryi, a beloved but whitish cultivar, I will plant it next to dark blue or crimson Clematis in order to make its petals pop.

Clematis SunsetEnglish style gardens are enhanced by dark blue or purple-blue varieties. They appear so strikingly in such gardens. However, care must be taken in determining what the word purple means. For some nurseries, it translates into dark wine – which is rather offensive in a pastel English garden. Even a plant tag with a photo may be insufficient to control for this variance. To avoid disappointment, it is best to first research the cultivar online. The descriptive text accompanying a photo of dark blue – purple-looking Clematis should read blue. When it reads purple, the flower might bloom in wine.

Clematis NiobeSome gardeners drape Clematis over rose bushes and ornamental shrubs. Even though it creates a very pretty picture, I avoid that kind of décor because of the extra tidying up that it necessitates, later in the fall. Busy, cold climate gardeners, whose winters arrive early, don’t always have enough mild – weather days to complete all their outdoor chores.

Clematis for every month of the year

My gardening hero Christopher Lloyd was always a big clematis fan. One of his favourites for this time of year was the reliable and long-flowering Clematis ‘Prince Charles’. This is covered in light blue flowers from late June until the end of August. It looks similar and is in the same group as ‘Perle d’Azur’, but those in the know think ‘Prince Charles’ is even better and more reliable. It is very resistant to clematis wilt and incredibly free-flowering. It doesn’t get as gangly as ‘Perle d’Azur’, and does not succumb to mildew.

‘Prince Charles’ makes a fantastic combination with climbing roses or, as you’ll see at Great Dixter, growing up through shrubs, such as the equally long-flowering pink hebe ‘Watson’s Pink’. Both ‘Perle d’Azur’ and ‘Prince Charles’ like a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Once established, they should be cut back to 18-30in in late winter.

The viticella hybrids are also just coming into flower. These tend to be in the richest colours, with petals cut from plush silk velvet, and there are some brilliant and reliable forms. There are three, all with the Award of Garden Merit (AGM), I find totally irresistible. ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ is rightly popular, flowering from late June until the end of September. Like all viticellas, this is a slender, deciduous climber, perfect for shimmying up posts and through shrubs and trees. Another couple of famously rich-coloured good viticellas are Clematis ‘Étoile Violette’, if you prefer a deep purple to a red-crimson, or for colour in between the two, ‘Royal Velours’ in a red crimson-purple. These are both equally good, tough, reliable and free-flowering.

I have ‘Étoile Violette’ with Rosa ‘Cerise Bouquet’ growing up through Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’ and it’s one of my favourite plant combinations. As a group, the viticellas are the easiest clematis to grow, wilt-resistant and happy in most soils and in positions, although they prefer sun. Pruning is easy – simply cut back to 12in in late winter.

Of the less well-known, another of Christopher Lloyd’s favourites was the species, C. uncinata. This doesn’t look much, making huge evergreen vines, with matt, dark green leaves and small starry white flowers like a small-leaved armandii, but its scent is incredible at this time of year.

Late summer

The garden designer and writer Mary Keen recommends Clematis ‘Gravetye Beauty’ to follow on from these in August. This is a Clematis texensis hybrid, which Mary loves for its lateness and elegance and its cherry red colouring. The texensis hybrid group tend to die off to ground level or nearly so in winter but climb up again and start to flower in late summer.

Once in bloom, they continue to produce flowers on new growth until the frosts and they have good seedheads. They are best on good, well-drained soil in a warm, sunny spot. ‘Gravetye Beauty’ is not the most vigorous, so is best grown through smaller shrubs rather than trees. You need to tidy this up in the winter.

Mary also rates the rarely grown Clematis rehderiana as another late flowerer to take us into the autumn. This starts to bloom in midsummer and continues to October, with elegant bell-shaped flowers in a pale yellow, washed green, with the scent of cowslips. It’s a whopper and will grow to more than 20ft to cover a house wall, given some wires and support.

Flowers for autumn

Carrying on with autumn-flowering clematis with delicious scent, we’ve got to remember C. x triternata ‘Rubromarginata’. This gives huge clouds of delicate starry white flowers edged in a rich velvet purple from July until September. It’s a strong grower, reaching about 15ft in one year and pouring out the most fantastic scent.

Clematis orientalis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ and other tangutica varieties flower from early to midsummer. ‘Bill MacKenzie’ goes on looking good with lemon-coloured, lemon-peel-textured flowers and then their spidery, puffball seed heads into the late autumn.

It thrives on a north wall and is the ideal plant to train along a fence as it will drape it elegantly for longer than almost any other plant I can think of. It is happy in almost any soil and is easy to grow. This variety seeds freely, but does not come true from seed so it’s important to buy it from a reputable nursery to make sure you get the true vegetatively propagated variety.

Winter clematis

Through the winter, you want one of the Clematis cirrhosa varieties, with C. c. var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ and ‘Wisley Cream’ getting most votes as the most reliable and free-flowering. They start to bloom in December in a sheltered spot and can flower until March or April. These are evergreen, dormant in summer, but with nodding, bell-shaped flowers at a miserable time of year. They prefer cool roots and flowers in the sun. ‘Freckles’ has lovely plum spots over the cream flowers and ‘Wisley Cream’ is plain creamy green.

When spring arrives

For March and April you want a Clematis armandii variety – which is transformed if you know how to prune it. This was one of Christopher Lloyd’s clematis lessons – cut it right down after flowering. Then you’ll get the lovely almond-like scent of varieties such as C. a. ‘Enham Star’ without being drowned out by leathery leaves.

There are also good Clematis alpina varieties, such as the deep blue, free-flowering ‘Frances Rivis’, or the almost as good ‘Constance’, ‘Ruby’ or ‘Pamela Jackman’. And you must grow at least one of the multi-petalled, C. macropetalas, such as ‘Lagoon’.

Finally, for May, you have the Clematis montanas, ideal for threading up through an apple tree which flowers at the same time. If you’re keen on scent, the delicate, stray white-flowered C. m. var. wilsonii is a wonder, or the more robust-looking and reliable pink, C. m. var. rubens ‘Tetrarose’. Once they’re established, the montanas just need the odd hack back.

Thanks to Laurel Emms at RHS Wisley for additional suggestions:

June
C. montana var. wilsonii (early June)
C. ‘Carnaby’, ‘Miss Bateman’, ‘Guernsey Cream’, ‘Proteus’

July
C. orientalis ‘Bill MacKenzie’, tangutica vars
C. uncinata
‘Perle d’Azure’
‘Prince Charles’
Viticellas, eg ‘Madame Julia Correvon’, ‘Étoile Violette’, ‘Royal Velours’

August
C. orientalis (or tangutica varieties) ‘Bill MacKenzie’
C. rehderiana
C. texensis hybrids, eg ‘Gravetye Beauty’
C. uncinata
C. x triternata ‘Rubromarginata’
Viticellas, eg ‘Madame Julia Correvon’

September
C. rehderiana
C. orientalis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ or tangutica vars
C. x triternata ‘Rubromarginata’

October
C. orientalis ‘Bill MacKenzie’, tangutica vars
C. rehderiana

November
C. orientalis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ seed heads;
C. tangutica vars.

December
C. cirrhosa varieties, eg C. c. var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ and ‘Wisley Cream’

Jan/Feb
C. cirrhosa vars, eg C. c. var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ and ‘Wisley Cream’

March
C. armandii ‘Enham Star’ and ‘Apple Blossom’
C. c. var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’ and ‘Wisley Cream’

May
C. macropetala vars, eg ‘Lagoon’
C. montana var. wilsonii
C. montana var. rubens ‘Tetrarose’

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Late summer clematis

August can be a tired old month in the garden, especially in drier summers, so it’s important to have some fresh-looking flowers to lift your spirits and climbers can play a huge role at this time of year. They offer flowers at eye height and they can help to soften the boundaries, particularly fences, or you can use them on an arch, or plant up obelisks. They’ll add more colour and all-important vertical accents and many take up little ground space, a big consideration now that many of us have smaller plots.

They say that clematis is the Queen of climbers, and the ones that flower between Midsummer’s Day (June 21st) and the Autumn Equinox (September 21st) are among the most useful to the gardener because they produce an abundance of smaller flowers that mix in well with herbaceous plants. These mainly come in blues, purples, reds and whites and they are the easiest of all to grow.


Many are of these are Viticella clematis. They’re bred from a Spanish, drought-resistant species so they’re tolerant of poorer soil. There’s no fear of them collapsing with wilt either, as some of the larger flowered clematis do, and they’re the easiest to prune. Cut them back hard in early spring, to the lowest shooting buds, to encourage strong new shoots.

Group 1 contains clematis that don’t need to be pruned, because this group flower on last year’s wood, mostly producing flowers in winter and spring. They include the alpinas, macropetalas, montanas and the evergreen cirrhosa and armandii groups. If you do need to prune them, to tidy them or restrict them slightly, it must be done immediately after flowering.

Group 2 is a light pruning group, and includes all early, large-flowered forms including the double and semi-doubles. These plants produce their main flush of flowers in May and early June, on stems made in the previous year so pruning is limited to cutting out the dead or weak shoots in February.


Group 3 is the hard prune group. Amongst others, it includes viticellas, orientalis and texensis groups. Cut them back to new growth in mid-February (clematis enthusiasts often call this the Valentine’s Day Massacre). They will produce vigorous new growth and flower in the second half of summer. It’s not a good idea to plant no-prune Group 1 close to cut-back-hard Group 3. The stems will entwine and you won’t know which to leave and which to cut!

The viticella are light scramblers so they can be used in various ways. They could be allowed to cover well-established large shrubs and small trees. They make excellent follow up acts to rambling roses, which flower only once in June. Or you can train them on fences, or up trellises, or on arches.

Flower shape varies and some have rounded flowers, others form stars and some have asymmetrical flowers, often with green markings. The vigorous Clematis ‘Alba Luxurians’ is one of these irregular, green marked beauties and it has a country charm.

The strongest varieties come in shades of purple and ‘Étoile Violette’, raised by Morel of France in 1885, is still superb despite its age. It’s usually the first to flower and by July lots of gappy purple flowers will appear and each one has a golden boss of stamens. ‘Polish Spirit’, a Polish variety raised in 1984, is often the latest with mainly four-petalled, purple flowers arriving in August. Each petal is lightly barred and the middle has a purple tint. Growing both together should give you flower from July until September.

Not all viticellas have starry flowers though. ‘Perle d’Azur’, another Morel variety named in 1885, has large leaves and larger, rounded mid blue flowers – the colour of a summer sky. This stunning clematis is often grown on an obelisk, but it is harder to establish and may take 3-4 years to really get going. However it is worth the effort, being unique with its large leaves and lovely flowers.


Wine red flowers also feature and ‘Royal Velours’, another old Morel variety, is very distinctive with velvet-textured, full flowers with four petals that overlap slightly. Thickly textured petals are particularly admirable at the bud stage. ‘Niobe’ is similar, but blacker in tone and it’s less vigorous, generally reaching 6 feet or more. ‘Warszawska Nike’ has more petals than most, up to 8, and these overlap and the bright-yellow middle and textured thick petals make this very eye catching.

Also, these two wine-red clematis are both moderately vigorous and both do well in shadier positions. ‘Madame Julia Correvon’, another Morel classic from 1900, has slightly twisted narrow claret-red petals set round a small golden middle. ‘Kermesina’ is still good, although the central boss is almost black, so perhaps not as fresh-looking as ‘Madame Julia Correvon’, but good for moodier colour schemes.

The dark, navy-blue to black clematis work well with golden conifers or the golden-leaved shrubs, and ‘Romantika’ is one of the darkest of all. There are also two historic doubles, believed to be from the 15th or 16th century and their flowers last a very long time. C. viticella ‘Flore Pleno’ (syn.‘Mary Rose’) is a dusky dark blue and ‘Purpurea Plena Elegans’ has purple-pink flowers. Both could be mistaken for roses at first sight, with their long lasting rosettes.


If you want to go paler there are two with fuller rounded, single flowers. ‘Fond Memories’, not a viticella but a large-flowering late in Group 3, has pink-white satin-textured petals edged finely in rose-lavender. These are set round a dark purplish middle. ‘Prince George’ is a very new ruffled single white with more open flowers made from four frilly petals. There are also clematis with tulip pink flowers, with texensis blood, and ‘Princess Kate’ is a white with rose-pink backs to the petals and a dark middle. This rations out its flowers over summer and autumn. The striking pink-red ‘Princess Diana’ bears more flowers over the same long period. Both could be grown on a large obelisk.


If you haven’t got room for a large obelisk there are clematis that are perfect for containers and they include the lime-green and lavender double ‘Crystal Fountain’. Like all doubles it will need a gentle prune, to remove any dead wood, early in the year. The later flowers are mostly single. Container-grown clematis need to have cool roots. Place them in a bright spot, but not in a full south-facing position. Use pot feet in winter, to elevate the pot and aid drainage. It will grow up to 2m in the ground, but nearer 1.5m in a pot. You may need a simple tripod to support it.

Always use a soil-based John Innes compost when potting up a container, because loam-based compost holds moisture and nutrients more efficiently than peat or wood-based compost. Apply a general-purpose liquid fertiliser monthly during spring and summer. Replace the top 2.5-5cm layer of compost each spring with fresh potting compost.

The roots of clematis in containers should be protected from freezing in winter and baking in summer. It’s a good idea to shade the pot in summer by placing some more plants on the sunnier side. When winter arrives, move the pot into the lea of the house to prevent cold from frosting the roots, or fleece and bubble wrap your pot. Remove the protection in early spring as it may harbour slugs and prune once the buds begin to break.

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