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Growing Clematis in pots, lessons learned.

45 comments


I have been growing clematis in large pots with varied success for the past couple of years. Some have done brilliantly well…even my clematis viticella ‘Black Prince’ did superbly in a large pot last year, scrambling up in to my wisteria..now it’s scrambling up a Silver Birch.
The Black Prince

and clematis ‘Ooh La La’ has done very well too, and so did Clematis ‘Harlow Carr’.
Clematis ‘Harlow Carr’ in a pot last summer

I moved Black Prince and Harlow Carr in to the ground last autumn as they are far too big and vigorous to have in pots permanently. At the moment I have four large pots with clems. in, all of them suitable for containers as they don’t climb very high. They are;
‘Ooh, La, La’;

‘Fujimusume’;

‘Fleurie’

and ‘Royal Velvet’.

Pots planted up with clematis last summer

Raymond Evison has undertaken a breeding programme specifically to produce new varieties of Clematis that are suitable for containers; see – http://www.raymondevisonclematis.com/main/catalogue.asp?categoryID=3
-for his introductions; but there are many more varieties that will do well in a large pot IF you can commit to watering and feeding regularly and often. I would think that Floridas would also make great candidates for this kind of culture….e.g…
‘Sieboldii’

‘Vienetta’,

‘Pisatchio’

‘Cassis’
Clematis ‘Cassis’….a Florida type that would probably do well in a pot.

And perhaps some of the smaller growing evergreen varieties like ‘Fragrant Oberon’ and Cartmanii ‘Pixie’; and if I ever find my self without a garden, I’ll find a way of keeping a couple at least, because life without clematis would be sad!

If you want to look for suitable clematis for pots and containers, can I recommend a book by Raymond Evison called ‘Clematis for Small Spaces’ which covers this subject thoroughly and is a beautiful book to browse at any time of year.

Unfortunately though, I am not very good at watering my pots every day…in fact I am seriously bad at remembering to water my pots! On top of that, because we have had such a wet summer (June and July were very wet and today – August 28th feels like winter), I’ve been kept indoors much more than I would like. Sadly, the pots against the house don’t get the rain no matter how wet it is, so of course, they ended up drying out too often and didn’t thrive really.

I also made the mistake of thinking I could underplant them with annuals for colour at the base…

A bad decision. They really do not need the competition of lobelia, pelargoniums and petunias for the water….best to keep them on their own I think, with a smart gravel mulch to conserve the moisture.
The clematis pots recently taken

My conclusion is that hanging baskets and pots of clematis….things that need regular and frequent attention…are not for me. I decided to take the clematis out of the pots and put them in the ground amongst the roses and shrubs where they will hopefully be happier.

So, today (Saturday) I took all four of the clematis out of the pots and moved them in to the ground. Goodness, the roots had totally filled the pots…amazing to see as there was such a lot of root for not much top growth! Clearly they were not really happy. I hope they will do much better in their new homes…next year we will see how big they get, and how many flowers they produce!

Now…..what to plant in the pots….thinks, thinks……..
Heuchera ‘Blackberry Jam’ and Sedum ‘Bertram Anderson’

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Comments

 

You've some gorgeous clematuses (?) there Karen.

28 Aug, 2011

 

:)) thanks! I wonder what the correct collective noun is Sheila...never thought about it....Clemati, or just Clematises or just Clematis....yes, I think it's just plain Clematis! lol ;)

28 Aug, 2011

 

Your collection of Clems is outstanding Karen, as i knew they were...I just adore 'black prince'.....'Cassis'...'pistachio'...and 'royal velvet'....Oh..I love them all....:>)

28 Aug, 2011

 

This is an excellent blog Karen, going to my favs! I have lots of clems in pots this year and after reading this, next year will do a bit of changing around. Unfortunately not enough climbing frames at present (my wall doesnt have much earth close by) to put in the garden, but I think I will drop a few hints to bro in law! lol!

28 Aug, 2011

 

I just love Cassis & Oh,la,la. Gorgeous. Great blog Karen, notes now taken about container growing, interesting you say this really because I dont seem to be able to grow Clems at all except the one a bird planted in my chimney pot and its perfect!!! Lol.

28 Aug, 2011

 

Nice blog Karen, first one I've read for a very long time :o) x

28 Aug, 2011

 

Thank you everyone....I thought it might be of use to some of you! :))

28 Aug, 2011

 

What a lovely collection of clematis. I have just started mine. It mainly contains well known varieties, I love some of your more exotic ones.

Fujimusume, is one of my long time favourites and one I have grown in the past.

You have ones that I have not seen in our garden centres, are they mail order?

28 Aug, 2011

 

Granny B, I use Taylors a lot...www.taylorsclematis.co.uk and Clematis Choice is good..www.clematischoice.co.uk and Thorncroft...www.thorncroftclematis.co.uk. They are all good, but I tend to favour Taylors, not least because they are in Doncaster so fairly far north and hardy, and also the plants they have sent me in the past have done well. I do have some of the more popular ones as well of course. Fujumusume is fantastic isn't it...such a beautiful colour and lovely big flowers. Niobe is another popular one I can't garden without...and viticella purpurea plena elegans as well...both popular choices.

28 Aug, 2011

bbs
Bbs
 

I have a Clematis in a pot, but it doesn't seem to be doing that well, but after reading your blog i will carry on. I love your pictures you have some fantastic Clematis in your garden....

Thanks for Sharing :-)

28 Aug, 2011

 

Thank you very much for this Karen . . . just love your clems - all of them! But the Viticella (nice new avatar!) is just amazing. Taylors is also recommended by Crissue, who dispatch to her garden in France.

Added to faves, and nominated it too. :)))

28 Aug, 2011

 

I enjoyed that Karen :)
I can't remember what you've said about frosts in your area, I suspect they are not too harsh being close to the coast, I would love clematis in pots but think the roots would freeze here.

28 Aug, 2011

 

Great blog, have added to my faves :^))

28 Aug, 2011

 

Lovely blog Karen! I have a clematis 'Perle d'azur' in the greenhouse to shade the tomatoes, but it's got too big now so I think I'll do the same as you and move it into the garden. Your clems are beautiful, Karen, you've inspired me to get more. I've put this on faves, to keep me right!

28 Aug, 2011

 

Thanks for the websites Karen. I can have many happy hours of browsing. I don't live too far from Donnie, so maybe able to pop over to Taylor's sometime.

28 Aug, 2011

 

Brilliant blog I have three in pots and I have to say they have not does as well as the one in the ground and think I may have made the same mistake with adding thing in the pots along with the clematis:(

28 Aug, 2011

 

Great to hear I am not the only one then Nana! Thanks everyone, I do love clematis. Dawn, the ave. min. temp in Carnoustie is -1C so really not bad at all. Min temp over last winter -10.

28 Aug, 2011

 

Hello Karen, interesting blog. My only clem successes have been in pots in this garden. It is near impossible to keep the soil moist in summer but I can keep pots well watered. I have to admit feeling silly at the moment though watering whilst its raining Lol. The weekend has been a wash out here, sooooo depressing and very cold. Three days off and I haven't even been able to cut the grass :o((((

29 Aug, 2011

 

I know Annie, same here...brrr..heating on again! Grey today again after a sunny start..but it was gone by about 9am :( Soon it will be winter again.... :( So I cheered myself up by ordering four more Heucheras from Plantagogo! ...I know, I am really hooked now. Still they are cheaper than Clematis! Might go outside and get the electric scarifier on another one of the bad patches...has to be done, even if it's cold....brrrr.

29 Aug, 2011

 

beautifull clems karen and seeing this have decided to start mine off in pots as i have at least 3 that just wont take off in the ground, so worth trying, i havent been in my garden in weeks properly with bad weather i lose interest, yours looks great karen as always :o))

29 Aug, 2011

 

I've been ever so busy San. I've decided to reduce the size of one bed and re-grass some of it as it's just too big to weed properly and was totally weed infested. I also tackled another big bit of the lawn....scarified it, mowed it, scarified it again, mowed it again, hand raked it, re-sowed it and then fed it....I am a bit worn out! Had a lovely long walk with the dog as well this morning and then helped a student move in to her new flat with Callum....it's a wonder I'm still awake!! Had to come in from the garden as it was too dark! Why on earth I never lose any weight is beyond understanding...must just be building up muscles!! lol x

29 Aug, 2011

 

I have OOh La La on my wish list Karen I think I will add Vienetta.......sounds like an ice cream!!!

30 Aug, 2011

 

I did manage to get outside about at about 4 o'clock and cut both lawns, moved a few plants that were not growing and chopped back the shrubs on one side to reveal the steps again. I came back in at 7.45 because it was too dark and blooming cold. Next weekend I am going to start painting as some rooms need tidying up before the house goes on the market, Ella's room could take at least a month!! Lol

30 Aug, 2011

 

Great blog Karen, I don`t really have much success with Clematis but keep trying, I do have a cutting from a lovely white one, out of dads garden, it has rooted and is producing new leaves so I`m hoping to get it through next winter, would you think it will be best kept in my greenhouse... Lovely set of photo`s..

30 Aug, 2011

 

I think that would be a good idea Lincslass...give it a chance to grow up a bit. In the nurseries they are all grown in poly tunnels aren't they....yes, keep it in for the winter ..hope it grows well for you, it will be a special one from your Dad. :))

30 Aug, 2011

 

Great blog this one and I have so say I just love your Clematis Vienetta. MUST get one of those. Lovely photos and plants too...

30 Aug, 2011

 

Thank you Breda, glad you enjoyed it. Viennetta has been one of the highlights of my garden this summer. I have over 80 clematis, but some of them have been very very poor this year...the ones that always do well have done well though...all the viticellas, Princess Diana, Aromatica, Flammula types, Niobe, Warsaw Nike, Oooh La La, Harlow Carr and a few others have been great, but some of the large flowered ones have just not appeared at all. That's the thing with Clematis...there's a lot of them you cannot rely on! :)) Thanks again.

30 Aug, 2011

 

great blog Ks63..i have killed a few clems in my garden but may try again now im older and a bit wiser (thanks to your blog). vienetta is just lovely. i think the salt wind here is one of the resons i've failed in the past, but the garden is much more developed now so may well try again..:-)

30 Aug, 2011

 

Hello Karen looks like you have the national clematis collection there lol, they look really nice.

30 Aug, 2011

 

Thanks Sandra, I hope you get better success with them from now on!

Julien, hi! No, not a collection...I would need a few more acres for that! But yes, far too many clematis for a sensible gardener! :) Thanks

31 Aug, 2011

 

So who's sensible? Not me - and not you either, LOL.

Seriously, thanks for an informative blog and lovely photos. :-))

31 Aug, 2011

 

:)) Glad you enjoyed it!

31 Aug, 2011

 

They are all gorgeous clems and you`ve generously given lots of info so have put this onto my favourites for future ref.
I do particularly like Vienetto the clem and the icecream dessert.lol.

1 Sep, 2011

 

So enjoyed your clem blog Karen.

I too have many clematis but all in ground.

I did grow in pots for a few seasons untill they too outgrow their home.

I also grew in hanging baskets .I may try again in baskets.

1 Sep, 2011

 

Goodness Kath! You must be very attentive and rigorous to grow them in baskets..all that watering! Did you ever get any heucheras in baskets?

1 Sep, 2011

 

Thanks Stroller....yes, I can't help thinking of Ice Cream either, but sadly , I never cared for the minty stuff!

1 Sep, 2011

 

Hi Karen, I have only just joined this site and while browsing for members in East Scotland ...I came across your clematis blog and must say they are stunning, I have several in my somewhat disorganized garden! Perhaps i should grow them in pots too given our east coast weather. You are definitely going on my inspirational favorites list. Well done. for such a great blog.

3 Sep, 2011

 

Hi Petal! Thanks for that comment. If I were you, I'd leave them in the ground, much easier to care for there! I have over 80 clematis and some do better than others, but the Viticellas all thrive here and the Floridas do surprisingly well to. The type 2s (large flowered early summer types) are very moody for me, but I have found some large flowered vit. types that do really well such as Viola Venosa Violacea, Hagley Hybrid and Blue Angel. These have quite large flowers in profusion through July to the first frosts and take no looking after at all, I just chop them to the ground in October and leave them alone except for a feed. Niobe always does well too, and the smaller growing ones, the herbaceous types like Heather Herschell (Eriostemon types) and the Integrifolias as well. I have a gorgeous blue one called 'Fukuzono' which has been flowering all summer long and is smothering my dwarf cherry tree, and Princess Diana is all over my Pear tree with her lovely lipstick pink tulip shaped flowers...there are lots that will do well....give me a shout if you need any more help! Karen x

3 Sep, 2011

 

Thanks for sharing those Clems. So beautiful! I sure wish they'd do well here but they don't. Stunning flowers and you have so many! Lucky gal u!

22 Sep, 2011

 

Too warm there then Angie. Never mind....there are so many things you CAN grow that I can only dream of! :))

22 Sep, 2011

 

Although I have found over the years there are about a doz. or so plants that do really well without much ado but others, eh, to fussy! Maybe be if I had my own garden to give the plants the right att. they need they might do well. However, gardening for clients that don't give much if any att. when I'm not there it's hard to tell how a plant really does. Yesterday I took a look in on a small garden I revamped about a mt. go. It was so disappoint. Some plants were dead and others near dead from lack of water. Some were doing ok and coming along though, but for the better part it should have been thriving. From seeing all the verity of beautiful plants on here from mostly England I just long for an English/Irish garden.

22 Sep, 2011

 

Wait a minute Angie....no mention of Scottish there....come on now....! ;)))

22 Sep, 2011

bik
Bik
 

whats the size of the pots I see in the photo?
I have a lot from taylors clematis uk and they advice me when in pot to use pots of 50cm deep and about 40-50 lit in cap.

29 Sep, 2011

 

Hi Bik, I don't know the capacity. They are about 36cm high and 33cm at the top. They are just about large enough for a short-growing clematis...but not with other plants in as well as I had them!

29 Sep, 2011

bik
Bik
 

ok thanks.

30 Sep, 2011

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