|Published: 17th August 2011 10:34|
Much mystique has been attached to clematis plants and many people are daunted by the prospect of propagating, growing and maintaining the plants. It is hoped that this will help to take some of the mystery out of their use. Here are some examples of the types of clematis.
Early Flowering Varieties
These plants are generally in flower from winter to late spring. They include the following:
Clematis Montana (rubens pictured)
These plants, known as Group 1, need only a minimum of pruning as a rule, dead-heading after flowering and removal of any weak or damaged wood. New growth should then begin to show soon afterwards and this will develop for the following year's flowering.
Occasionally, when space is limited - on a balcony or small patio, for example, it may be required to restrict the growth of the plant. In this case, remove some of the older growth to encourage new, fresh growth and a prominent flowering display.
Mid-season flowering varieties
These varieties, known as ‘group 2', are generally in flower from late spring to early summer and include such types as
and ‘Nelly Moser (pictured)
Clematis ‘Nelly Moser'
These delightful varieties flower from buds that were produced the previous season, so the old growth must be left intact to avoid loss of flower. Occasionally, it is possible to have a second ‘flush' of flower into the autumn on newer shoots.
Pruning all dead and weak stems in early spring after the worst frosts to avoid ‘die-back' is beneficial to the overall growth and look of the plant. Lift out the old, dead or dying stems and remove them down to a young, emerging bud. Clearing out this tangle of dead material also opens the plant to the light, encouraging more flowering. When all pruning is completed, the stems may be tied securely with string or twine to train them and cut down on possible damage from rogue winds.
Late-season flowering varieties
These varieties, known as ‘group 3', flower late season (midsummer to autumn) and include such types as
and my personal favourite -
‘Hagley Hybrid' (pictured)
Flowers from this group come on new stems each year, so the pruning is made in late winter, after the most severe frosts (we hope!). Cut out all the previous year's bare and tangled shoots to about 45cm (18in.). As the new growth begins to develop, tie it in and train it to receive more light to encourage flowering.
Planting, Training and Aftercare of Clematis
With the exception of some forms such as Clematis integrifolia, clematis plants are climbers.
If grown against a wall or fence, they will need to be planted at least 45cm (18in.) away, as a ‘rain shadow' is present beneath these. What is meant by a ‘rain shadow?'. As rain falls, the wall or fence takes much of its impact in the near vicinity, so very little water is present at the base. On a broader scale, a hill or mountain range will receive the rainfall on one side and the region on the other side may be considerably drier. An example of this is the Pennine chain of hills. Cumbria experiences a great degree of rainfall whilst Northumberland on the east side is drier.
When planting a new clematis, water the plant well before placing it into the ground. Principles of planting apply to both container-grown and bare-root plants. Container-grown plants may be put in at any time of year, if conditions allow, but bare-rooted plants must only be placed in the dormant period.
Dig a hole that is approximately twice the size of the rootball of the plant to accommodate growth. Ensure that plenty of well-rotted organic matter is worked into the planting hole to open up the soil, absorb moisture and encourage root growth.
Place the plant into the hole provided so that the top of the rootball is level with the soil surface. Many plants will rot if planted too deeply but clematis will benefit from a deeper planting, as their roots may dry out more easily, inducing clematis wilt.
Clematis plants sometimes come already tied to canes to hold them but if they do no and are large enough to be tied, it may be an idea to find some canes and tie them in. Place the plants to slope diagonally against the wall or fence. When the clematis plants have been safely planted, it is a good idea to water them in and cover the area around with a mulch of organic matter. Clematis love to have sun and light on their top growth but need their roots shaded and sheltered. Some gardeners like to cover the roots with slate but, in my experience, this can encourage slugs to shelter.
I mentioned herbaceous clematis earlier.
Some examples of herbaceous clematis are
Clematis x aromatica
Clematis recta and
Care of these is as with herbaceous plants generally. The plants will die down after flowering, so all the woody material needs to be pruned out to ground level, in order for new growth to regenerate from the base. A top dressing of fertiliser in the spring after the frosts will encourage healthy and prolific top growth and flowering.
Finally, clematis love to clamber, so another idea is to train them up a tree such as apple.The flush of flower later in the year from the clematis is added ornament after the apple has finished flowering.
If you have any queries on clematis, please contact me on: Martinjhorne@hotmail.com