Plant Type
Sunlight Amount

This perennial vine comes in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes.

February 18, 2016
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Clematis

Clematis is one of the showiest vines you can grow. With many types of shapes and colors, these plants dress up any kind of structure they climb. Bloom time ranges from late spring to fall, depending on the type and variety. With proper planning, it’s possible to have clematis blooms throughout the growing season. You can even plant these vigorous vines alongside woody plants like roses, trees, or shrubs to act as a living trellis.

genus name
  • Clematis
light
  • Part Sun
  • Sun
plant type
height
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 8 to 20 feet
  • 20 feet or more
width
  • Climbs from 3-20 feet or more, depending on type
flower color
foliage color
season features
special features
zones
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
propagation

purple-clematis-eloile-viole-tte-28916940

David McDonald

Colorful Combinations

Clematis is known as one of the best perennial vines for your garden. Whether it's summer-blooming clematis with large, showy blooms or fall-blooming varieties with hundreds of smaller petals, these vines make a stunning statement. The most common clematis are the open-face blooms that reach as large as 7 inches across. Blooms also come in small, bell-shape blossoms with recurved outer petals that dangle like little lanterns. Some blooms have a pleasant fragrance. The seed heads' swirling masses of fluffy seed add another kind of interest. Clematis are among the most beautiful flowering vines on the market.

Clematis Care Must-Knows

Clematis is an easy-to-grow perennial vine as long as you keep a few things in mind. In general, clematis prefers full sun, but there are a few varieties that manage in part shade. An important thing to note: In full-sun conditions, clematis prefer cool roots, so plant clematis at the base of another plant to provide some shade to the root areas. Clematis prefers well-drained soil and consistent moisture. Certain species are more drought-resistant and can handle dry soils better than others.

Bloom time of clematis varies, depending on the species. Many new varieties are rebloomers, but most of the older types will only bloom during one season of the year. However, even after blooming, clematis flowers still add interest to the plant. As the seed heads mature, they expand to become fluffy balls that look pretty dried in floral arrangements. Some varieties can become invasive in a garden setting, so deadhead blooms to prevent overpopulation of clematis.

Pruning Clematis

Pruning clematis is quite simple. There are three main classes of clematis when it comes to pruning: Group 1, 2, and 3. These group numbers tell you how to prune your clematis. To start, no matter what group number you have, it's always a good idea to give new plants a good pruning in spring during their first year.

In future years, Group 1 plants will bloom on old wood, so if needed, prune them right after blooming. Clean up these plants a little bit in early spring, but be aware that any live growth you remove before bloom is potential flowers you just cut off. Simply cut off dead wood.

Group 2 plants bloom on both new and old growth. Typically, most of their blooms will be in spring, but they will also put on another floral show in fall on new growth. You can do some mild pruning in early spring with this group, especially removing dead wood. Any major work should be done just after the primary bloom in spring.

Group 3 plants all bloom on new wood only. These plants are easy and can be cut back every spring to about 8-12 inches above the ground. If you don't cut Group 3 back each spring, plants can become overgrown and unruly.

More Varieties of Clematis

Kritsada Panichgul

Clematis viticella 'Alba Luxurians' blooms from midsummer to fall, bearing white flowers with green petal tips. It's quite vigorous, climbing to 12 feet. Zones 5-9

Peter Krumhardt

Clematis alpina blooms spring and early summer in shades of blue, lavender, and white. Its fluffy seed heads look great in summer and fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 5-9

Marty Baldwin

Clematis 'Avant Garde' offers unique burgundy flowers that are graced a frilly pink center. It begins blooming in summer and continues through autumn. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-8

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Bee's Jubilee' is a compact selection with deep pink flowers banded with red. It blooms in late spring and early summer and climbs to 8 feet tall. Zones 4-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Vanso' is an exquisite selection with double lavender-purple flowers in spring and again in fall. It climbs to 8 feet. Zones 4-8

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Betty Corning' produces faintly scented lavender-blue flowers throughout the summer. It has good disease resistance and climbs to 10 feet. Zones 5-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Blue Ravine' produces large lilac-blue flowers blushed with pink in spring and again in late summer. It climbs to 12 feet tall. Zones 4-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Daniel Deronda' bears starry, dark purple-blue flowers in spring then again in summer through fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Duchess of Albany' offers tulip-shape pink flowers from summer to fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Duchess of Edinburgh' puts on a show with double white flowers in early summer with a repeat performance in late summer. This heirloom clematis grows 8 feet tall. Zones 4-9

Kim Cornelison

Clematis 'Hagley Hybrid' bears single pinkish-purple blooms throughout the summer. It climbs to 6 feet. Zones 4-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Gillian Blades' is a stunning selection with ruffled white blooms in late spring and early summer then again in late summer and early fall. It climbs to 8 feet tall. Zones 5-8

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Evijohill' bears unusual double lilac-pink flowers through summer and early fall. It climbs to 7 feet. Zones 4-9

Marty Baldwin

Clematis 'Jackmanii' is one of the most common—and popular—varieties. It bears dark purple flowers throughout the summer and climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9

Peter Krumhardt

Clematis 'Henryi' bears huge white flowers throughout the summer. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9

Bob Stefko

Clematis 'Mme. Julia Correvon' bears bright magenta-red flowers all summer and fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 5-9

Mark Kane

Clematis 'Nelly Moser' has creamy-pink flowers with a bright pink stripe down each petal. It blooms in early summer and again in late summer. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9

Marilyn Stouffer

Clematis 'Niobe' bears deep red flowers in summer. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Rhapsody' produces a plethora of sapphire-blue flowers from early summer to early autumn. It climbs to 10 feet tall. Zones 5-8

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Princess Diana' produces stunning rich pink, tuliplike flowers all summer and fall. It climbs to 12 feet tall. Zones 4-9

Mary Carolyn Pindar

Clematis montana var. rubens bears pink flowers in late spring and early summer on vigorous vines that climb to 30 feet. Zones 6-9

Peter Krumhardt

Clematis terniflora blooms well even in shade, producing masses of starry white flowers with a strong fragrance in late summer and autumn. It climbs to 20 feet. Zones 4-9

Stephen Cridland

Clematis 'Silver Moon' bears silvery-lilac flowers from summer to early fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis tangutica offers unusual bell-shape golden flowers midsummer to fall. It climbs to 20 feet. Zones 6-9

Matthew Benson

Clematis 'Veronica's Choice' bears large, semidouble lavender-pink flowers that fade to nearly white. It blooms from early to late summer and climbs to 10 feet. Zones 5-8

Garden Plans for Clematis

Rick Taylor

Dress up the front of your home with this interesting combination of plants.

Click here to download this plan!

Illustration by Gill Tomblin

Nighttime is the right time to enjoy a garden of bright whites, fragrant blooms, and a comfortable seat.

Download this garden plan now.

Illustration by Mavis Augustine Torke

The exciting plants included in this design will provide long-lasting color, fragrance, and texture that will leave you saying, "What fence?"

Get this free plan!

Illustration Illustration by Gary Palmer

Maintenance is a breeze with this heat-resistant, high-color garden plan. Follow our guide to get the look in your green space.

Click here to get this garden plan!

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