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.
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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 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
'Alba Luxurians' Clematis
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
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
'Avant Garde' Clematis
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
'Bee's Jubilee' Clematis
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
Blue Light Clematis
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
'Betty Corning' Clematis
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
'Blue Ravine' Clematis
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
'Daniel Deronda' Clematis
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
'Duchess of Albany' Clematis
Clematis 'Duchess of Albany' offers tulip-shape pink flowers from summer to fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9
'Duchess of Edinburgh' Clematis
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
'Hagley Hybrid' Clematis
Clematis 'Hagley Hybrid' bears single pinkish-purple blooms throughout the summer. It climbs to 6 feet. Zones 4-9
'Gillian Blades' Clematis
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
Clematis 'Evijohill' bears unusual double lilac-pink flowers through summer and early fall. It climbs to 7 feet. Zones 4-9
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
Clematis 'Henryi' bears huge white flowers throughout the summer. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9
'Mme. Julia Correvon' Clematis
Clematis 'Mme. Julia Correvon' bears bright magenta-red flowers all summer and fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 5-9
'Nelly Moser' Clematis
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
Clematis 'Rhapsody' produces a plethora of sapphire-blue flowers from early summer to early autumn. It climbs to 10 feet tall. Zones 5-8
'Princess Diana' Clematis
Clematis 'Princess Diana' produces stunning rich pink, tuliplike flowers all summer and fall. It climbs to 12 feet tall. Zones 4-9
Pink Anemone Clematis
Clematis montana var. rubens bears pink flowers in late spring and early summer on vigorous vines that climb to 30 feet. Zones 6-9
Sweet Autumn Clematis
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
'Silver Moon' Clematis
Clematis 'Silver Moon' bears silvery-lilac flowers from summer to early fall. It climbs to 10 feet. Zones 4-9
Clematis tangutica offers unusual bell-shape golden flowers midsummer to fall. It climbs to 20 feet. Zones 6-9
Garden Plans for Clematis
Foolproof Foundation Garden Plan
Dress up the front of your home with this interesting combination of plants.
Design for a Moon Garden
Nighttime is the right time to enjoy a garden of bright whites, fragrant blooms, and a comfortable seat.
Soften a Fence with This Lush Border Garden Plan
The exciting plants included in this design will provide long-lasting color, fragrance, and texture that will leave you saying, "What fence?"
Hot-Summer Garden Plan
Maintenance is a breeze with this heat-resistant, high-color garden plan. Follow our guide to get the look in your green space.