Types of clematis pictures

How to Grow Clematis Indoors

Clematis is a climbing vine that offers an abundance of colorful flowers during the late spring and early summer. Clematis are grouped according to their pruning requirements with Pruning Group Two being the most ideal choice for indoor container gardening as these plants require the least amount of pruning. With the right amount of light, good soil and fertilization, your indoor clematis plants will grow beautifully year round.

Select a container to grow your clematis indoors that’s at least 18 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter. If you have room for a larger planter in your home, your clematis will appreciate the extra space. Make sure that the container drains well.

Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of the container. Fill the container with potting soil, up to within 8 inches from the rim.

Select a type of clematis that grows well in containers such as Sugar Candy, Madame Julia Correvon, Niobe or Snow Queen. The professionals at your local nursery can guide you in your selection.

Plant the rootball of your clematis plant in the center of the container and fill in over and around it with more potting soil, up to 3 inches from the top of the planter. Clematis roots like to remain cool, so make sure that the root ball is about 5 inches beneath the soil line in your planter.

Add the support pillar or teepee shaped structure to the inside edges of the container. If your clematis is very young, you may only need a small structure until it begins to grow. When your plant is long enough, wrap it around the support structure to help it get started. As it grows, continue to wrap the plant around the support.

Add a 2-inch layer of organic mulch to help the roots stay cool. Water the clematis well and place it in an area of your home that receives at least six hours of sun each day. You can substitute artificial grow lights for sunshine, just make sure that your plant receives enough light or the clematis will not bloom.

Water your clematis heavily during the spring and summer, keeping the soil moist. During the winter, do not water as much, just enough to keep the plant from drying out.

Fertilize your clematis with water soluble fertilizer in the spring every third watering, until the buds appear. Stop fertilizing until the flowering stops, and begin again through late summer.

Prune your clematis based on the recommendations of the particular pruning group your cultivar belongs to. Group One clematis require removing all of the dead and dying stems after the blooming period, Group Two needs very little pruning, just remove the dead wood as needed, and Group Three requires that the plant be pruned down to the ground at the end of winter or beginning of spring.

Clematis

Clematis are among the most decorative and spectacular of all the flowering vines. They are a group of mostly woody, deciduous vines, though Armand clematis (Clematis armandii) is evergreen, and a few are herbaceous perennials. There is great variety in flower form, color, bloom season, foliage effect, and plant height. There are clematis species and cultivars suitable for all areas of South Carolina.

Armand Clematis (Clematis armandii) is an evergreen clematis that flowers in late March.
Millie Davenport, ©2007 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Height/Spread

The size of different Clematis species varies considerably. Anemone Clematis (C. montana) is a vigorous grower that can reach a height of 20 to 30 feet. Most of the large-flowered hybrids grow to around 8 to 12 feet tall, but the small herbaceous species only grow to 2 to 5 feet tall.

Growth Rate

The old saying about clematis growth is, “The first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap.” Growth may seem slow as the plant builds its root system, but once established, clematis are strong growers.

Ornamental Features

Hybrid clematis vines are spectacular, with a profusion of white, blue, violet, purple, pink, red, or bicolor flowers. The large-flowered hybrids may have blooms ranging from four to ten inches in diameter and as many as 100 or more blooms per plant in a season.

There are three general flower forms: flowers in loose clusters; bell or urn-shaped flowers; and flat or open flowers. Many of the species have fragrant blooms, with the exception of most hybrids. Small-flowered species offer a range of fragrances from almond to hot cocoa.

Hundreds of species and thousands of cultivars are available. Their bloom times range from February or March until frost. Butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to clematis flowers. As cut flowers, clematis are long-lasting. The fruit is typically a showy ball-shaped, “feathery” structure. The seedpods are used in dried flower arrangements.

General Sikorski clematis (Clematis ‘General Sikorski’) has feathery, ball-shaped seed heads. Karen Russ, ©2007 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Problems

The most devastating problem of clematis is a fungal stem rot and leaf spot called clematis wilt. The two fungi credited with causing clematis wilt are Phoma clematidina and Ascochyta clematidina. With this disease, the plant or part of the vine suddenly collapses, and within a few days, the stem and leaves turn black and die. Cut off and destroy all the affected parts. Rake up and dispose of fallen foliage. If the clematis was planted with two buds below the ground, it will usually grow back from the base the following year. Plants in their first year of growth seem to be more susceptible than established vines. This is a disease mainly of large-flowered hybrids. Small-flowered hybrids, the species and their cultivars, are less susceptible to wilt. Therefore, try one of the lovely small-flowered species if there has been trouble with wilt in the past.

Clematis leaf spot can be controlled with foliar sprays of thiophanate methyl and the stem rot controlled with soil drenches of thiophanate methyl. Follow label directions for mixing and use. See Table 1 for products containing thiophanate methyl.

Powdery mildew may occur on plants in areas with poor air circulation. This can be reduced by planting where there is good air movement. When visible, the powdery fungal growth can usually be found on the upper surface of the leaves and tends to begin on lower leaves. As the disease progresses, leaves become dwarfed, curled, and generally distorted. In severe cases, leaves will turn yellow or even dried and brown. Powdery mildew fungi will also infect flowers, causing them to develop abnormally or fail to open.

To help prevent diseases, avoid getting the foliage wet by irrigating at the base of the plant. If powdery mildew is noticed on only a few leaves, simply removing them will help with control. At the end of the growing season, remove fallen leaves, which can serve as a source of further infection later. Fertilize clematis to optimize plant health, but avoid over-fertilization with nitrogen, as it stimulates young, succulent growth, which is more susceptible to infection.

For fungicides to be effective in powdery mildew control, they must be applied as soon as symptoms are noticed. Myclobutanil, propiconazole, tebuconazole, and thiophanate-methyl are fungicides that have foliar systemic properties, and these can be sprayed less often for disease control than required for contact fungicides, such as chlorothalonil, sulfur, or copper-based fungicides. Horticultural oil mixed with potassium bicarbonate can also give good powdery mildew control on ornamentals. When powdery mildew persists and sprays are repeated, it is recommended to rotate (alternate) any systemic fungicides with contact fungicides in order to decrease the chance of fungi developing resistance. Please see Table 1 for fungicides labeled for powdery mildew control on clematis.

Aphids may feed on new growth early in the season. Mites cause a fading of green leaf color, which makes the leaves look dusty or yellowed. Their feeding may result in distorted growth. Heavy infestations can reduce the number and quality of blooms. As they feed, aphids excrete honeydew, a sugary substance that attracts ants and wasps. The honeydew supports the growth of unsightly, dark-colored sooty mold fungi on the leaves.

Aphids can be controlled by sprays with an insecticidal soap. Repeat spray three times at 5- to 7-day intervals. If stronger insecticides are deemed necessary, sprays containing bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, lambda cyhalothrin, permethrin, or pyrethrin will control aphids. Repeat sprays are needed. Soil drenches or granular applications of the systemic insecticide imidacloprid will control aphids and last longer within the plant to prevent future infestations. See Table 2 for products containing these insecticides for use on clematis.

Slugs may attack the foliage of newly planted vines or even feed on the bark of young stems. Control slugs by the nearby placement of slug baits that contain iron phosphate. See Table 2 for available brands of slug baits.

Rabbits and mice may feed on and girdle stems.

However, once well established, most clematis tend to be trouble-free.

Landscape Use

Clematis have a dense mat of leaves that is ideal to shade porches. They are excellent for use on trellises, fences, and walls.

Clematis like to be grown with “their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade.” They need at least 6 hours of sun to flower best, but in South Carolina they will benefit from some shade during the hot afternoon. Flowers of some red, blue, and bicolored large-flowered hybrids fade if they get too much sun. These should be planted in eastern sunlight exposures or partial shade.

Though the plant’s stems and foliage should be in sun, the roots like a cool, moist environment. The soil can be kept cool and shaded by planting low groundcover plants or perennials that have shallow, noninvasive roots. Alternately, a 2-inch layer of mulch also provides a cool root environment. Most clematis can be grown in South Carolina as long as the plant base and roots are protected from the afternoon summer sun.

Avoid planting in extremely wet locations. The site should be open enough to allow for air movement around the plants, but protection from strong winds is also desirable.

Soil in the planting area should be prepared to a depth of 18 inches deep and 12 to 15 inches wide. Incorporate compost or planting mix 20% by volume in the soil to improve aeration and drainage.

After amending the soil for planting, dig a hole to accommodate the root system. Cut stems back to 12 inches in height. This will help the plant branch as it begins to grow and will reduce the chance of stem breakage during the planting process. Clematis are most often container-grown, as they do not withstand much root disturbance.

Plant clematis with the crown one to two inches below the soil surface. This allows the plant to recover should it be mowed off, damaged by animals, or infected with clematis wilt.

Provide support for the vine. However, these supports must be thin since clematis vines climb by twining the bases of the leaves around a support. They cannot grasp thick branches or heavy trellising. Latticework or trellises can be used if clematis are placed a few inches from the wall for ventilation and if large enough to support the vine. Poles can be used for supporting smaller, less vigorous vines. Arbors are suitable for the larger, more vigorous types of clematis, such as the Armand clematis.

Water deeply once a week in dry seasons. Vines need at least an inch of water a week, either from rain or irrigation. Renew mulch to a 2-inch depth in late spring after the soil has warmed, unless a groundcover or other method is used to cool the root environment. A soil test is always the best method for determining the fertilization needs of clematis. For more information on soil testing, see HGIC 1652, Soil Testing. Do not fertilize clematis while it is flowering.

Clematis are divided into three groups based on the recommended pruning methods used for each. The pruning method that is used depends mainly on the time of year the plant flowers. If unsure what group the plant is in, then watch it for a year to see when it blooms. Make cuts carefully as the vines will likely be tangled, and dormant vines may appear lifeless.

‘Nellie Moser’ is a large-flowered clematis in group 2.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Group 1 Early-Flowering Clematis: Plants in this group bloom in early spring, generally in April and May, from buds produced the previous year. Prune these back as soon as possible after bloom but no later than the end of July. Do not cut into woody trunks. Plants in this group include C. alpina, C. macropetala, C. armandii, and C. montana.

Group 2 Large-Flowered Cultivars: Large-flowered hybrids bloom in mid-June on short stems from the previous season’s growth and often flower again in late summer on new growth. Prune in February or March by removing dead and weak stems, then cut back remaining stems to the topmost pair of large, plump green buds. This should be a fairly light pruning. Plants in this group include: ‘Nelly Moser,’ ‘Miss Bateman,’ ‘Lasurstern,’ ‘Duchess of Edinburgh,’ and ‘Mrs. Cholmondeley’.

Group 3 Late-Flowering Clematis: Plants in this group flower on the last 2 to 3 feet of the current season’s growth. Some types begin blooming in mid-June and continue into the fall. In February or March, cut each stem to a height of about 2 to 3 feet. Plants in this group include: C. viticella, C. x jackmanii, ‘Perle d’Azur’, ‘Royal Velours’, and ‘Duchess of Albany’.

Species & Cultivars

Group 1 Early-Flowering Clematis:

Alpine Clematis (C. alpina) grows 6 to 8 feet tall and blooms in April and May. Flowers are nodding, small, bell-shaped, lavender, or purple-blue.

Armand’s Clematis (C. armandii) grows 15 to 30 feet tall, blooms April and May. Two-inch creamy white blooms in large clusters; has a strong vanilla scent in warm weather. This vigorous evergreen clematis has rich green, leathery leaves. This vine can be cut to the base to rejuvenate.

  • ‘Apple Blossom’ has flowers that resemble large apple blossoms, opening pink and fading to white.

Downy Clematis (C. macropetala) grows to 15 feet tall, blooms April and May. Flowers are nodding bells, 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter, pale blue with purple shading. These plants prefer cooler, shady locations and will grow best in the Upper Piedmont area. Named varieties may have double flowers; blooms may be shades of blue, pink, or lavender.

Anemone Clematis (C. montana) grows 20 to 30 feet tall, blooms May and June. Produces masses of flowers in white or pink, 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter. Some cultivars have a vanilla scent. One of the easiest to grow, this vigorous plant develops strong, woody stems. Prune hard to limit growth. The cultivars of C. montana var. rubens have flowers with a richer, pastel pink color than the plain species.

Group 2 Large-Flowered Cultivars:

Clematis lanuginosa ‘Candida’ features a burst of yellow stamens in brilliant white flowers that commonly reach 8 inches across. This plant produces flowers on graceful vines of old and new wood. Prune sparingly.

Florida Clematis (C. florida) features unusual flowers with big, creamy white sepals surrounding ornate, rich purple and green centers. It is well-suited to warm areas.

  • ‘Alba Plena’ has 3-inch double flowers in pale greenish white.

Large-Flowered Hybrids:

  • ‘Barbara Jackman’ grows to 8 feet. The vigorous, bushy plant has flowers in May or June that are 4 inches in diameter and deep purplish-blue with bright magenta bar. They fade to mauve-blue.
  • ‘Ernest Markham’ is an easy to grow clematis that reaches a height of 10 to 15 feet. It has red, magenta, and burgundy hued flowers with yellow anthers.
  • ‘General Sikorski’ has lilac to lavender blue 6 to 8 inch blooms. The flowers have a ruffled, wavy texture with yellow anthers. It grows 8 to 10 feet tall.

‘Ernest Markham’ is an easy to grow clematis that reaches a height of 10 to 15 feet.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

‘General Sikorski’ has lilac to lavender blue 6 to 8 inch blooms.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

  • ‘Hagley Hybrid’ grows to 8 feet and flowers June to September. Flowers are 4 inches in diameter, pale mauve pink, fading to a washed-out pink. Vigorous grower, can also be pruned as group 3.
  • ‘Henryi’ is an old, vigorous and reliable variety that blooms for a long season, from early to late summer. It grows 9 to 12 feet tall, with large white flowers.

‘Henryi’ has large white flowers.
Karen Russ, ©2007 HGIC, Clemson Extension

‘Multi Blue’ has deep purple to blue double flowers.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

  • ‘Jackmanii’ grows 8 to 10 feet and blooms from July to August. Flowers are 4 to 5 inches in diameter and deep bluish-purple. It has a free-flowering habit.
  • ‘Marie Boisselot’ grows to 8 to 12 feet and flowers from June to September. Opening flower buds are flushed with lilac-pink, flowers are 8 inches in diameter. This cultivar is a strong grower.
  • ‘Mrs. Cholmondeley’ grows up to 20 feet. It blooms from May to October with light lavender blue flowers, which are paler along the midrib. This can also be given group 3 pruning.
  • ‘Nelly Moser’ grows up to 8 to 10 feet with flowers from May to June and repeat blooms in September. The flowers are 8 inches in diameter, pale rosy mauve with a central carmine-colored midrib and dark maroon anthers. The flowers fade badly in full sun; therefore, provide some shade for this plant.
  • ‘Multi Blue’ has deep purple to blue double flowers. It blooms in the late spring to early summer and then again in the fall. It grows 6 to 8 feet tall.
  • ‘Niobe’ grows 8 feet tall and flowers from June to September. Its cup-shaped blooms open dark ruby red then turn to bright ruby red with cream stamens. The first flowers are 6 inches in diameter, whereas the later ones are 4 inches in diameter. This is a moderate grower with some flowering throughout the season.
  • ‘Perle d’Azur’ grows to 16 feet. This cultivar flowers continuously in early summer to mid-autumn. The blooms are 4 to 6 inches in diameter and are sky blue with green stamens.
  • ‘Ramona’ has 6 to 8 inch lavender blue flowers contrasted with red anthers. It grows 8 to ten feet tall.
  • ‘Toki’ flowers in the late spring to early summer with single, 6 to 8 inch white blooms that contrast well with yellow anthers. It will bloom again in the late summer to early fall.

‘Niobe’ grows 8 feet tall and flowers from June to September
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Ramona clematis (C. ‘Ramona’) has large, 6 o 8 inch lavender blue flowers with red stamens.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Toki clematis grows from 4 to 6 feet and has large white flowers.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2019 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Group 3 Late-Flowering Clematis:

Woodbine (C. virginiana) A native to Eastern North America, this clematis is similar to the sweet autumn clematis, but is not invasive. The fragrant, star-shaped flowers bloom on new growth from August to October. It can be pruned back to the ground in the early spring to encourage new growth. It does have the tendency to reseed and also spread by its suckering growth habit; therefore, caution should be taken in choosing the proper site for planting.

Orange Peel Clematis (C. tangutica) Small (2- to 4-inch) rich yellow blossoms of this clematis hang like little Chinese lanterns on stiff upright stems. After flowering, fuzzy silver seedpods hang on through winter.

Rooguchi Clematis (C. ‘Rooguchi’) A non-vining, multi-stemmed clematis that grows 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. The small, nodding, bell-shaped flowers are deep plum-purple.

Rooguchi clematis (C. ‘Rooguchi’) has purple bell-shaped flowers.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Rooguchi clematis (C. ‘Rooguchi’) has purple bell-shaped flowers.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Texas Clematis (C. texensis) A Texas native, this species will stand up to dry, hot summers. The foliage has a bluish tint. Plant it in a south-facing location with plenty of air circulation.

  • ‘Duchess of Albany’ is the best-known variety, with large bell-shaped blossoms of deep rose.

Italian Clematis (C. viticella) The Italian clematis grows 10 to 12 feet and blooms July to September. Its rich, deep purple flowers are 1.5 to 2.5 inches across. This vigorous clematis is tolerant of warm roots and is easy to grow. It originated in southern Europe and western Asia and is adapted to a hot climate.

  • ‘Etoile Violette’ has deep violet flowers.
  • ‘Alba Luxurians’ has solid white flowers.
  • ‘Mme. Julia Correvon’ has wine red flowers.
  • ‘Polish Spirit’ has deep purple flowers with cherry red stripes.

Large-Flowered Hybrids:

  • ‘Comtesse de Bouchard’ grows 6 to 8 feet, with flowers July to August. This is an easy-to-grow prolific bloomer and a good plant for small spaces. Its flowers are 4 to 6 inches in diameter and pink with creamy stamens.
  • ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ grows up to 8 feet. The flowers are 6 to 8 inches in diameter, deep violet-blue suffused with purple-red, and bloom in June and September.

Bloom Season

These clematis are listed in approximate order of bloom. Bloom times will vary from the coast to the mountains by as much as a month or more.

February into April:
Clematis macropetala

March into May:
C. armandii
C. montana
April into June:
C. alpina

May through August:
C. lanuginosa
C. viticella
C. ‘Jackmanii’

Clematis Hybrids: Most put out a flush of bloom in May or June, then flower sporadically throughout summer.
C. ‘Hagley Hybrid’
C. ‘Nelly Moser’
C. ‘Niobe’
C. florida
C. texensis

September into November:
C. tangutica

Invasive Species

It is not recommended to plant sweet autumn clematis (C. terniflora), as it is a highly invasive vine. It grows vigorously to 30 feet and reseeds freely. Sweet autumn clematis is listed on the South Carolina Exotic Pest Council Invasive Species List as a significant threat.

Sweet autumn clematis (C. ternifolia) is a highly invasive vine.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Sweet autumn clematis seeds freely.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Table 1. Fungicides for Disease Control on Clematis.

Active Ingredient Examples of Brand Names & Products
Myclobutanil Spectracide Immunox Multi-Purpose Fungicide Concentrate
Ferti-lome F-Stop lawn & Garden Fungicide Concentrate
Monterey Fungi-Max Concentrate
Propiconazol Ferti-lome Liquid Systemic Fungicide II Concentrate; & RTS
Bonide Infuse Systemic disease Control Concentrate; & RTS
Banner Maxx Fungicide Concentrate
Martin’s Systemic Fungicide Concentrate
Martin’s Honor Guard PPZ Concentrate
Thiophanate-methyl Cleary’s 3336-WP Turf & Ornamental Fungicide
Southern Ag Thiomyl Systemic Fungicide
Tebuconazole Bayer Advanced Disease Control for Roses, Flowers & Shrubs Concentrate
Chlorothalonil Ortho Max Garden Disease Control Concentrate
Garden Tech Daconil Fungicide ConcentrateHi-Yield Vegetable, Flower, Fruit & Ornamental Fungicide Concentrate
Southern Ag Liquid Ornamental & Vegetable Fungicide
Tiger Brand Daconil Concentrate
Ferti-lome Broad Spectrum Landscape & Garden Fungicide Concentrate
Bonide Fung-onil Concentrate
Sulfur1 Safer Brand Garden Fungicide Concentrate; & RTU
Hi-Yield Wettable Dusting Sulfur
Southern Ag Wettable or Dusting Sulfur
Bonide Sulfur Plant Fungicide Concentrate
Horticultural Oil2 Ferti-lome Horticultural Oil Spray Concentrate
Monterey Horticultural Oil Concentrate
Southern Ag ParaFine Horticultural Oil Concentrate
Bonide All Seasons Spray Oil Concentrate
Summit Year Round Spray Oil Concentrate
Potassium Bicarbonate2 Monterey Bi-Carb Old Fashioned Fungicide
Milstop Broad Spectrum Foliar Fungicide
Copper-based Fungicides Bonide Copper Fungicide
Monterey Liqui-Cop Fungicide Concentrate
Southern Ag Liquid Copper Fungicide
Bonide Liquid Copper Fungicide (copper soap)
Camelot O Fungicide/ Bactericide Concentrate (soap)
Natural Guard Copper Soap Fungicide Concentrate; & RTU
Note: These active ingredients are listed in approximate order from most efficacious (best control) to least.
1 Do not apply sulfur if temperature is greater than 90 ºF or to drought stressed plants. Do not use sulfur in combination with, or within 2 weeks before or after the use of horticultural oil treatments. Sulfur will also control mites.
2 Do not apply horticultural oil if temperature is greater than 90 ºF. Add 3 tablespoons of horticultural oil to a gallon of water with 3 tablespoons of baking soda for better powdery mildew control.
RTS = Ready-To-Spray (hose-end sprayer). RTU = Small, pre-mixed bottle.

Table 2. Insecticides for Clematis Insect Pest & Slug Control.

Pesticide Active Ingredient Examples of Brands & Products
Contact Insecticides
Insecticidal Soap3 Bonide Insecticidal Soap Concentrate
Espoma Earth-tone Insecticidal Soap Concentrate
Natural Guard Insecticidal Soap Concentrate
Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap Concentrate
Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap Insect Killer Concentrate
Bifenthrin Bifen I/T Concentrate
Ferti-lome Broad Spectrum Insecticide Concentrate
Hi-Yield Bug Blaster Bifenthrin 2.4 Concentrate
Ortho Bug-B-Gon Insect Killer for Lawns & Gardens Concentrate ;& RTS1
Talstar P ConcentrateUp-Star Gold Insecticide Concentrate
Cyfluthrin Bayer Advanced Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray Concentrate
Bayer Advanced Rose & Flower Insect Killer RTU2.
Lambda Cyhalothrin Spectracide Triazicide Insect Killer for Lawns & Landscapes Concentrate; & RTS1
Martin’s Cyonara Lawn & Garden Concentrate
Permethrin Bonide Eight Insect Control Vegetable, Fruit & Flower Concentrate
Bonide Total Pest Control Outdoor Concentrate
Hi-Yield Indoor/Outdoor Broad Use Insecticide Concentrate
Bonide Eight Yard & Garden RTS1
Tiger Brand Super 10 Concentrate
Martin’s Vegetable Plus Concentrate
Pyrethrin Bonide Pyrethrin Garden Insect Spray Concentrate
Monterey Bug Buster-O
Monterey Pyganic Gardening
Southern Ag Natural Pyrethrin Concentrate
Soil Applied Systemic Insecticides
Imidacloprid Bayer Advanced 12 Month Garden Tree & Shrub Insect
Control Concentrate – Landscape Formula (drench)
Bonide Annual Tree & Shrub Insect Control with Systemaxx (drench)
Ferti-lome Tree & Shrub Systemic Insect Drench
Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Spray Concentrate (drench)
Martin’s Dominion Tree & Shrub Insecticide (drench)
Monterey Once A Year Insect Control II (drench)
Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Granules (8 week protection)
Bonide Systemic Insect Control Granules (8 week protection)
Slug Baits
Iron Phosphate Bait4 Bonide Slug Magic Pellets – Makes Slugs Disappear
Gardens Alive Escar-Go (Slug & Snail Control)
Garden Safe Slug & Snail Bait
Monterey Sluggo – Kills Slugs & Snails
Whitney Farms Slug & Snail Killer
Natural Guard Bug, Slug & Snail Bait (also contains spinosad)
Bonide Bug & Slug Killer (also contains spinosad)
Gardens Alive Garden Pest Bait – Insect, Slug & Snail
Bait (also contains spinosad)
Monterey Sluggo Plus (also contains spinosad),
Monterey Ant Control Bait (also contains spinosad; & controls slugs).
1 RTS = Ready to Spray (hose-end applicator)
2 RTU = Ready to Use (pre-mixed spray bottle)3 Insecticidal soap sprays should be applied in the early morning or late evening to slow drying time and therefore efficiency in killing insect pests. Apply when temperatures are below 90 °F and not in direct sunlight to reduce chance of foliar burn.4 Slug baits containing iron phosphate are much safer for use around pets and children than are the older baits containing metaldehyde. Baits must be kept dry.
Drench = Add to water and pour around base of plant.Notes: Insecticidal soaps and pyrethrins are natural and safe to use products. Iron phosphate & spinosad slug baits are much safer for use around pets than the older baits containing metaldehyde.

Watch Clematis Tips

Identifying Clematis by Observation

Is it really a clematis? If the leaves do not grow in pairs, it is another type of vine.

By watching your clematis over the period of a year (yes, a full year), it will reveal important information to you. The most important is when and how it blooms.

First, is it actually a clematis?

  • Clematis can be a woody, deciduous plants, evergreen, or herbaceous.
  • Check the stems for the leaf formation.
  • Clematis leaves grow in pairs along the stems. The leaf shapes vary with different varieties.
  • If the leaves alternate on the stem, it is some other type of vine.
    Even if the leaves are in pairs, it may not be a clematis, but the leaf trick is a super quick way to rule out other plants.

Take notes, record observation dates, and take photos (flowers, leaves, and middle of flowers).

This will not only help you figure out your clematis group, but it will make you a better gardener.

  • When does the clematis produce buds? Spring, summer, or late summer and early fall?
  • When does it produce flowers? Spring, summer, or late summer and early fall?
  • Have a look at a stem that has a bud or flower on it. Is the stem brown and woody or green and new?
  • Are the flowers small (2-4-inches), medium (5-8 inches), or large (up to 12-inches)?
  • What color are they? Note the color of the petals: are they solid or striped? Are there gradations in the color tones?
  • Examine the center of the flowers. Take photos and note the colors of the various parts.
    Lots of clematis have the same flower colors but the middles can vary greatly.
  • At the end of the growing season, what do the seed heads look like? This is also helpful for a clematis expert to narrow down your type.

Discover the many different types of clematis flowers to find the most suitable type for your garden. Clematis growers and newbie gardeners can choose among attractive flowers with remarkable seedheads and tall vines.

Clematis flowers have 300 species and belong to the Ranunculaceae family. The name comes from the Greek word klematis which means vine but some species are grown as shrubs. Its common name “old man’s beard” refers to its long feathery seed heads.

These same leaves were once thought to cure leprosy aside from being food for caterpillars. The flexible and durable vines were also used to make wreaths. The stems of the clematis, on the other hand, were smoked by young boys as a past time.

Prune Group

The clematis that falls into pruning group 1 will generally grow into very large plants, given enough time and ample space. This means that careful pruning is important to help keep your clematis under control and to make sure that it looks great, although you do need to be careful when pruning your plant for a few reasons. All of the clematises that fall into pruning group 1 will bloom only on growth that is from the past year.

This means that if you accidentally over prune your clematis that you will not have many if any, flowers the next year. It is important to prune these plants, however, as you need to make sure that you can keep them in their space so they don’t take over your garden, or if you need to remove unsightly or dead foliage that is ruining the plants’ appearance.

Be careful when pruning clematis that falls into pruning group 1, as pruning too late in the season can cause you to accidentally cut off potential buds. Additionally, never prune in the spring before the plant has a chance to bloom or it will not be able to bloom. Only prune clematis from this pruning group immediately after they have flowered, or let them grow wild so that you don’t have to worry about accidentally removing buds.

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It is very normal to hear about clematis in pruning group 2 to be split into two different subgroups – group 2a and group 2b. The difference in these subgroups is when the plant will flower. Clematis from group 2a will generally bloom in the spring and may bloom again in the fall, while those in group 2b will bloom in the spring and then continue to bloom intermittently during the summer. Clematis that are in group 2b will also grow while they bloom, which means that during the blooming season the plant will bloom higher and higher.

It’s common for the flowers of both of these subgroups to be colored differently as the blooming season progresses and for them to be much smaller towards the end of the blooming season. All of the clematises that are in pruning group 2 will bud off of old wood, which means that they should only be pruned once during the year.

Make sure that you only prune deadwood during the spring once the leaf buds have begun to open so that you don’t accidentally lose your buds. Clematis that are in 2b can additionally bloom on new wood. If you want to increase the number of blooms that you will have later in the blooming season, then you can remove the seed heads from the early flowering immediately after the blooms have dropped the tepals.

Clematis in pruning group 3 bloom at different times during the year. Some are summer bloomers, while others are many later bloomers, but they all need to be pruned in the same way to ensure that they will continue to bloom the best that they can and add beauty to your yard. What sets these plants apart from those in pruning group 1 and group 2 is that the flowers will grow on new wood that is produced each year. This means that in the winter the plants need to be severely pruned back. Doing this when they are dormant will help to prevent a lot of damage or stress to the plant.

Gardeners need to make sure to prune this clematis back to about a foot tall. While this may seem like you are damaging the plant, by the time the clematis is ready to bloom in the summer, they will have reached their full height. When pruning, make sure to leave four buds on each stem of the plant to help it grow in the spring.

Also, remember that failing to prune clematis from this group will result in the plant becoming very leggy. These longer areas of growth will be incredibly woody and won’t have any blooms or foliage, making the plant unattractive and requiring, even more, pruning in the spring to repair the problem and ensure the plant to grow correctly.

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The clematis that is in pruning group 3 traditionally has very large shaped flowers that are shaped like saucers. There is also some clematis that has smaller flowers in the shapes of stars, bells, tulips, and saucers.

Bloom Shape

Double Flowers

It can be a little difficult to find clematis that has double flowers. The blooms on these plants are going to be incredibly full and frilly, which many people find to be very attractive. Because double blooms are much easier to see and will have more visual weight to them than single blooms will, planting a clematis with double blooms is sure to make quite an impact, especially as the plant grows and continues to produce more and more blooms.

Star

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When most people think of a typical clematis, they picture a plant that has a star-shaped bloom. These clematises come in many different colors and sizes, but the shape is going to be the same. The standard flower will have around seven petals and measure about six inches across, although there is some clematis that has much larger or much smaller blooms.

To add a little extra interest to your clematis, it is a good idea to look for a plant that is variegated or has a deep color, as otherwise, some people think that this typical clematis shape flower can be a little boring. With the right growth and pruning, however, a clematis that is covered with star-shaped flowers can be stunning and add a lot of beauty to your garden.

Bell

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The bell-shaped blooms on some clematis are incredibly sweet and pretty. While they won’t make a huge impact such as the way that larger blooms tend to do, they are stunning in their own right and are sure to attract attention when people see your new plant. Look for a clematis that has leaves in the shapes of bells if you want something that is a little bit different from the normal clematis that other homeowners in the area may have in their yard.

Saucer

If you want a clematis that is very stunning and will draw a lot of attention in your garden, then you may want to opt for one that has flowers shaped like saucers. These flowers are generally larger than normal, although it is possible to buy a clematis with smaller saucer flowers.

Since the flowers are so large and will make such a big impression on anyone who sees them, you do want to make sure that you are very careful when pruning this plant. Accidentally pruning too much of your clematis can cause the plant to have growing problems. This means that you won’t get the stunning show of flowers that you expected, which can be very disappointing for most people.

Tulip

Clematis that have tulip-shaped flowers are very dainty and attractive. The appearance of these flowers is like a mix between bell-shaped flowers and ones that are shaped like saucers, but they are generally much daintier and more fragile in appearance than either of these two types. Just like other types of clematis, you do need to be careful when pruning back these plants, as accidentally over pruning your clematis will result in not having very many blooms during the blooming season.

Bloom Size

Small

For a very dainty look in your garden, you will want to choose a clematis that has smaller than average blooms. Just because these blooms are small doesn’t mean that they won’t have quite the impact on everyone seeing them, as these plants typically are loaded with a lot of smaller flowers. This will create an incredible appearance and is sure to impress you and draw attention in your garden. Careful pruning will ensure that you do not lose any of the flower buds, which is important, as you will want your clematis to be loaded with blossoms in order to make an impression.

While this clematis certainly isn’t going to steal the show in your garden, it is a great plant to have, as the smaller blooms will juxtapose nicely with other, larger blooms in your space. When allowed to grow up the side of your home, clematis with smaller blooms creates a lovely living wall of flowers.

Regular

Traditionally, flowers on clematis are going to be about five inches in diameter. These blooms are going to be large enough to draw a lot of attention and be quite striking, which is why it’s so easy to find plants that have blooms this size. Typically, when you buy a clematis at a local store, you will be purchasing a plant that has blooms in this size.

While the five-inch blooms that are the average for a regular clematis aren’t necessarily the biggest available, they are still very attractive. Clematis that have regularly sized blooms are going to be striking in your garden, although they won’t steal the show the way that a clematis with oversized booms will be able to. They are a great plant to have, as they are easily recognizable, easy to grow, and will boast a stunning display of flowers every year when you take care of them correctly.

If you want larger or smaller blossoms, then you will need to make an effort to find a different plant. It’s easy to find regular size blooms in a variety of colors and shades, although they are generally just saucer or star-shaped. Knowing the size and shape of the bloom that you want will make it a lot easier to narrow down your hunt for the perfect plant.

Oversized

If you want to make sure that you have a real showstopper in your garden, then it’s time to look for a clematis that has oversized blooms. These can be a lot harder to find than ones with regular blooms or even smaller blooms, but the reward makes the hunt worth it, as the larger the blooms are, the most striking that the plant will be when it is in full bloom.

In general, a clematis with blooms larger than five inches will be considered oversized or above average size. While this clematis may appear a little fussier than other types, they don’t require any other work or care. As long as they have enough water and are fertilized to compensate for poor soil, and as long as you are very careful when you prune them each year, they will reward you with stunning flowers throughout the blooming season.

Because of the high drama of these blooms, it’s a good idea to plant your clematis with oversized flowers in a place of honor in your garden. Because you want to make sure that everyone who comes to your home will see your plant, you need to consider putting it in a location where it will be easily seen from the road, your home, or anywhere else on your property. These stunning blooms are sure to make people pause and check out your garden, so this plant should be a source of pride for you.

Bloom Color

Single Color

It’s very easy to find clematis that has blooms in only one color. If you want a single color in your garden that is sure to draw attention and become a focal point, then a single color bloom is sure to provide you with the high drama that you crave. These plants are generally very impressive, as the wall of single color blooms will draw attention and stand out.

Look for a clematis that has bloomed in a color that will either stand out from every other plant in your garden or will blend in with space. A color that is repeated throughout your space is a great way to make your garden appear more cohesive, which is very important if you have a particularly small garden and you want it to look planned and well designed. On the other hand, in a very large garden, a bright splash of color from your clematis may be just what you need to create a striking area.

Variegated

Variegated clematis blooms are incredibly pretty, and it seems like no two are alike. When you choose a variegated plant, you can enjoy how it will help to tie together the other colors in your garden. If you have not spent a lot of time making sure that the colors you have chosen for your other flowers in your garden work well together, then it’s time to consider a clematis with a variegated flower.

While some of these clematises will blend in with the rest of your flowers, depending on the colorful blooms that you choose and how impressive the variegation is, your clematis may stand out from all of the other plants in your garden. This type of bloom is a great option for anyone who may have trouble picking their favorite color.

Two Colors

Blooms that have two different colors or clematis plants that have two different color blooms on them are sure to attract a lot of attention when you have them planted in your garden. This is a wonderful way to add a lot of interest to your space without having to purchase more than one plant, which is great if you are on a budget and you are unable to afford two plants or simply don’t have the room in your garden for more than one clematis.

Because the blooms can be so striking, it’s a good idea to plant this clematis where it will get a lot of attention in your garden. You can rest easy knowing that you won’t ever get bored with the plant, as it is sure to remain attractive throughout the blooming season, and you will love the variety of color that it provides your space.

Pink

Even though pink is a fairly common plant color for your garden, that doesn’t mean that you should pass up a clematis just because it is pink. There are many shades of pink clematis for you to choose from, from a very pale pink that makes a great neutral in your space to a deeper and more vibrant pink that is sure to stand out. No matter what you choose, the pink blooms against the dark green foliage are very attractive and will look great in any garden.

White

White and green have always looked amazing together in a garden, and this clematis is no different. When you opt for a clematis with white blooms you will instantly create a classic look in your space. No matter if you want to opt for an all-white garden, which can be stunning, or if you simply want a bit of white to break up the bright colors of your other plants, a white clematis is sure to meet your needs. Choose one with large blooms for a striking look that will make the white pop even more.

Purple

From light lavender to a deep, royal purple, you can easily find a purple clematis that will make you smile. Even though these blooms can vary widely in what color purple they are, they are all still very attractive. Purple is not a very common color in the garden, which makes a clematis a perfect plant to experiment when you want something a little different.

Yellow

There’s nothing like planting yellow blooms in your garden, as yellow flowers will brighten up your space and work so well with other colors. A yellow clematis will work wonderfully as the backdrop to the rest of your garden, or you can let your yellow clematis steal the show and plant it in a more noticeable location.

No matter if you choose buttery yellow blooms or ones that will shine like gold throughout the blooming season, you are sure to get a lot of enjoyment out of your yellow clematis. They look great when paired with any other flowers and can hold their own against dark or light blooms from other plants without being overwhelmed and seems to disappear into the background.

Blue

Some people may argue that these blue blooms appear more purple than blue, but there is a definite distinction between blue and purple blooms on a clematis. Lighter blue blooms will draw your attention because it is so rare to find a flower that has blue blooms in the garden. Make sure to surround your blue clematis with other plants that have white blossoms if you want to make sure that the blue will really stand out and get the attention that it deserves. When planted near purple plants, these blooms will look less blue and will take on more of a purple hue, which is not what you want.

Red

A true red clematis – not a deep pink masquerading as a red flower – is something very impressive in the garden. When you want a red clematis that will attract a lot of attention, pay special attention to the bloom itself and look for one that has white on the inside. This will create drama and make your red blooms stand out from the rest of your flowers. Red clematis looks especially impressive when close to other plants with lighter foliage, as it will make the red appear even deeper and more dramatic.

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Types of Clematis

By Beth Stetenfeld

Here’s a handy guide to Clematis types and varieties. There are more than 300 species of Clematis and hundreds of hybrids—so we’ve compiled an easy overview to start your search.

There are three basic categories of growth, or “groups,” of Clematis plants:

  • Group one, which bloom only on old wood. These plants need very light pruning only if they’re overgrown. If pruning, do so before the end of July. Examples include Clematis montana, C. alpina, and evergreen species C. armandii.

  • Group two, which bloom on old and new growth. Clematis varieties in this group generally only need a light pruning each year after blooming. Most of these are the large-flowering hybrids, including ‘Diamond Ball’ and ‘Viva Polonia.’

  • Group three, which bloom primarily on new growth and can be cut back to about 12 inches in early spring. Species include C. viticella and C. x jackmanii. ‘Happy Jack’ is group three cultivar.

Clematis Flower Types

In addition, there are 10 basic Clematis flower shapes, and the timing of when they flower in the year:

Bell-shaped

Open bell-shaped

Double large flowers

Single large flowers

Saucer-shaped

Star-shaped

Tulip-shaped

Tubular

C. montana

C. viticella.

White Flowered Clematis Varieties

Diamond Ball Clematis Vine

Purple & Blue Flowered Clematis Varieties

Sweet Summer Love Clematis Vine

Jolly Good Clematis Vine

Happy Jack Purple Clematis Vine

Pink Flowered Clematis Varieties

Viva Polonia Clematis Vine

Pink Mink Clematis Vine

Clematis Bush Varieties Varieties

Stand by Me Clematis Bush

Clematis plants generally are easy-care and pleasant additions to just about any garden—once established and in the appropriate locations. It’s important to do a little planning before the planting. Consider these five key elements before you select your Clematis plant.

1. Your garden hardiness zone: This is probably the best place to start, particularly for gardeners in northern latitudes. Most species and cultivars are hardy to USDA hardiness zone 4, but some are not. For example, the evergreen species, C. armandii, is hardy in zones 7 to 9. The hybrid ‘Stand by Me’ Clematis, on the other hand, is hardy to zone 3. There are more than 300 species of Clematis and hundreds of hybrids—so make sure your choice will perform well in your garden climate.

2. Preferred bloom time: This will make a big difference in the type you choose. There are Clematis varieties that bloom starting in late winter, while others bloom in spring, summer, or fall. Some are even repeat-bloomers, producing flowers in more than one season. Herbaceous Clematis plants, like ‘Stand by Me,’ if deadheaded, can bloom from late spring through early fall.

3. Plant location: Various species and cultivars of Clematis have preferences for spacing, soil type, and sunlight. For example, ‘Viva Polonia’ is a vining cultivar that spreads 4 to 6 feet and should be spaced 3 to 5 feet from other plants. ‘Pink Mink,’ also a climber, requires more than 6 feet of spacing. Generally, most Clematises tolerate a range of Ph and are adaptable to different soil types. But some prefer slightly acidic or sandier soil. Regarding sun requirements, winter- and spring-blooming Clematis can be a little more versatile, since they’ll likely get plenty of sunlight—even in a deciduous woodland—to form buds before the surrounding trees leaf out.

4. Plant supports: Determine this before you choose your plant. Some Clematis varieties require strong and tall supports, like a trellis, an arbor, or wire supports on a wall. Those that grow tall and wide, like ‘Happy Jack,’ can get quite heavy with growth. Providing a solid structure for their vines and foliage can help prevent wind damage and breakage.

5. Potted vs. in the ground: Plants that do well in pots are the varieties that are non-climbing, or those that don’t grow quite as tall. ‘Stand by Me’ is a shrub-forming plant that works well in pots. It might need a little support from a stake, but only reaches a height of 34 to 38 inches. ‘Viva Polonia’ is a climbing Clematis, but reaches a height of just 4 to 6 feet. It can be grown in the ground or in a pot, but will need support.

Clematis groups explained

Clematis are popular climbers, and a must-have in the garden. They will happily scramble over a range of structures; and with a myriad of colours and flower shapes to choose from, it’s no wonder they’re a favourite amongst gardeners.

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With a little extra care, particularly when it comes to pruning, clematis will reward you with a show-stopping display year after year. Choose the right varieties, and you could have clematis blooming for every season.

Planting soon? Find out how to plant clematis.

To help make sense of the many varieties of clematis available, and to simplify their care requirements, they’ve been divided into three pruning groups. Read more about the three clematis groups below.

To help make sense of the many varieties of clematis available, and to
simplify their care requirements, they’ve been divided into three
pruning groups.

Group 1 clematis

These early-flowering clematis burst into bloom in winter and spring on the previous year’s growth. This group doesn’t need pruning, but you can remove old or damaged stems after they have finished flowering, if needs be.

How to grow Group 1 clematis

Group 1 clematis to grow

Group 2 clematis

These large-flowered hybrids produce show-stopping blooms in spring and summer on the previous year’s growth. Without pruning in February, you’ll likely have a poor display and a top-heavy plant. Trim away weak or damaged growth, and cut other stems to just above the strongest, highest buds. Prune again after the first flush of flowers to a pair of buds halfway down the stems, and they will flower again in late-summer.

How to grow Group 2 clematis

Group 2 clematis to grow

Group 3 clematis

This late-flowering group produces flowers on the current season’s growth, which makes pruning all the more important. To ensure a robust display of flowers in summer and autumn, cut it down to a couple of feet from the ground every February or March. Left to their own devices, plants will become tangled and unproductive.

How to grow Group 3 clematis

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10 Group 3 clematis to grow

Three top tips for growing and caring for clematis

  • Clematis are thirsty plants. Give them plenty of water once a week, rather than little and often
  • Never hard-prune clematis in Group 1 and 2. Doing this will result in a year of flowers lost
  • All clematis prefer their roots to be in the shade, and the top growth to be in the sun

How to prune clematis — know your Groups 1, 2 and 3

ASK THE MASTER GARDENERS

When is the best time prune my clematis? I understand there are three different pruning techniques depending upon the cultivars, but I don’t know what I have.

Yes, you’re correct. Clematis (pronounced CLEM-ah-tis) can be divided into three groups for pruning purposes. If you don’t know your species or cultivar, you can watch the growth pattern the first year and prune accordingly.

Group 1, spring bloomers: Clematis that bloom in early to mid-spring (April-May) flower on last year’s wood. These buds were produced the previous season and should be pruned right after flowers fade to encourage vigorous stems for next spring’s blooms. Species in this group include C. montana and C. macropetala. These can be pruned hard because their growing season is after they flower.

Group 2, repeat bloomers: This group grows on old and new wood and is divided into two subgroups.

Subgroup B: Cultivars such as C. ‘Belle Nantaise,’ ‘W.E. Gladstone’ and ‘King Edward VIII’ that have fewer flowers but are noted for their extreme size, blooming from June until autumn. Some of these get rather tall and straggly and are great for climbing among roses and shrubs.

With Group 2 cultivars, use selective pruning in the spring, cutting out dead or tangled vines; then deadhead and carefully prune again after they have flowered. If the plant has been neglected for years, a total rejuvenation may be necessary. Cut away all top growth until you can see some basic structure. Stems can be retied and trained.

Group 3, summer and fall bloomers: This group grows on new wood and flowers in late summer into fall. Prune these more severely in early spring (12 inches from the ground.) Follow each stem up until you find a healthy, plump bud and snip the vine just above the bud. If left unpruned they will continue to bloom from where they left off the previous year. Varieties and species include C. ‘Jackmanii,’ C. tangutica, C. ‘Gipsy Queen’ and C. ‘Ernest Markham.’

The basic truth is that it’s hard to kill clematis. If no pruning is done, clematis species and cultivars will continue to grow and flower — but they may become unmanageable vines. Drastic pruning every few years may sacrifice some blooms the first year but will create more manageable vines, stimulate new growth and keep most flowers at eye and nose level.

It’s always advisable to save the labels when purchasing new plants. There’s a good chance it will indicate the pruning group into which they fall and offer other useful information.

Mootsy Elliot, Master Gardener with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland

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