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Clematis....my personal recommendations

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It’s not been a good year for early large-flowering clems has it? Sadly, the fungal infection that causes them to wilt suddenly and die off above ground likes a moist cool start to the season, and that’s exactly what we’ve had. So, there have been quite a few of my GoY friends commenting on their clematis catastrophes.

This got me thinking and researching a bit, and I decided to make a note of all the clematis that I have grown that have proved to be reliable and brilliant performers as well as beautiful. These are not all my favourites. Sadly, too many of my favourites are thoroughly ‘unreliable’! But these ones are definitely among my favourites, partly because of their reliability.

I haven’t included any Montanas, evergreens or alpinas simply because I’m not growing any at the moment, although I have in the past and there are some gorgeous examples in those groups. I should mention that I’ve never had wilt on any montana, evergreen or alpina type clematis, so from that point of view they are undoubtedly well worth growing. These are the spring flowering clematis that don’t require any pruning at all but leave an unsightly (to my mind) heap of thatch all through the winter (Not the lovely evergreens of course, but they are not as hardy and don’t do well here generally).

So, here goes…in alphabetical order…the top 10 of karensusan63’s currently growing clematis that won’t disappoint you…..

1. Arabella

I found this on Taylor’s stand at Dundee Flower and Food Festival and have grown it ever since. It is an herbaceous clematis which doesn’t twine around a host plant or support, so you need to give it an obelisk and tie it in, or as I now do…let it go it’s own way! It combines beautifully with other plants and flowers for months from June to September, reaching 1.8m in height. It grows from many stems, a really good clump at the base every year and is strong and healthy. The colours (blue with pale yellow stamens turning white) combine beautifully and the flowers are smallish..about 4cm I would guess. I cut it down to the ground in late autumn and it just springs back every year. Look how beautiful it is with Solanum Crispum Glasnevin….

2. Blue Angel

Blue angel is a strong grower..to about 2m high or more. It produces good strong, though brittle stems in the spring and flowers from June to September. It’s flowers are large…about 10cm and of a beautiful powder blue shade. It is very prolific and reliable and doesn’t mind some shade. Keep it well watered and it will romp happily through large shrubs and small trees. Wonderful cover for a fence.

3. Chiisanesis ‘Love Child’

Not a showy one this. It is subtle and lovely. Lemon yellow flowers of a similar shape and form to a macropetala. It also has a faint scent. It has beautiful dark green foliage and grows to about 3m tall. Each year producing many flowers from the end of May to mid July in my garden. Great seed heads too. It combines the beauty of an early flowering alpina with a late flowering yellow type clematis such as tangutica. I love it and it grows in almost full shade in my garden. It doesn’t need pruning…treat it like any group 1 clematis. Prune it if you must, immediately after flowering. Mine will get it’s first hair cut in 5 years this year, I hope it doesn’t sulk!

4. Flammula Triternata Rubromarginata

This is another scented clematis. In fact, this is probably the strongest scented clematis….I’ve not smelled one stronger. It smells of almond blossom…gorgeous! It grows through the spring and summer, coming in to it’s glory in July, going on to September. It will even tolerate dryness at its roots. It grows large…up to 6m and will cling to anything it can get it’s delicate ferny leaf stems around. The flowers are mauve and white and very prolific. Really beautiful! Prune it hard back in the winter…right to the ground and put all the rubbish in the compost…easy!

5. Fleuri

This one belongs to the ‘Boulevard’ collection, a group of new low-growing (about 1m or so), long flowering, large bloomed clematis introduced by Raymond Evison over the past few years. This group is proving extremely useful and reliable in my garden and this one is the best, so far. The colour is deep, deep violet with a reddish central bar. Lovely creeping through roses and small spring flowering shrubs. Mine is near to my Prunus Kojo-no-mai and it brings later interest to this small cherry tree. This group is really good for large pots, although I find them very high maintenance in pots..but I am quite a lazy gardener truth be told! ;) For more info about growing clems in pots, I did do a blog earlier.

Boulevard clems have so many attributes to commend them. They are disease resistant, low growing (so good for containers), easy to care for (prune hard in winter), beautiful and flower for a long period of the summer. Fleuri will go from May to October in a good year, although it is yet to flower this cold summer.

6. Fukozono

This one is blue with a hint of violet, and has lovely long twisted tepals. You can place it in any aspect and it will flower prolifically from June to September. It grows through my dwarf Cherry, (to about 1.8m) which looks more like a ‘clematis tree’ all summer long! Again, cut it back hard to the ground in winter and put the rubbish in the compost…easy and lovely! Oh, and can I just admit, I planted it right up to the root of the cherry but it hasn’t affected either plant at all!

7. Niobe

One of a very few of my early large-flowering clems which don’t seem to wilt. This one is a must in my garden because of it’s sheer beauty. Deep, dark maroon flowers growing 2-3.5m high in sun or part shade from June to September. This one, though large and early flowering, is group 3..so again, chop it down to the ground in winter…easy!

8. Texensis ‘Princess Diana’

Lipstick pink trumpet/tulip shaped blooms from July to October clothe this beautiful plant. It will grow in sun or part-shade. Look out for mildew developing on this, or any texensis. They are a bit susceptible to it. I found Gravetye Beauty to be the worst. I spray mine as soon as I see any sign of it. This one, like all the texensis, needs tying up or just let it scramble. It doesn’t cling. Another group 3..cut hard back in winter. No fuss. Grows to about 1.8m

9. Viennetta

The Sieboldii group are hardy I find, but take a while to get going in my climate. This one doesn’t grow too big…about 2m and is a child of Sieboldii and Alba Plena. You can see both parents in it. The flowers are just stunning and last for ages and it flowers from June through to October when the frosts kill it off. I have this one clambering through a dark leaved Acer Palmatum, but you could try it in a container. It will cope with some shade as well. I don’t find it (or any of the floridas) a strong grower, but it is reliable and disease free (again, as with all the late flowering clems, watch out for mildew, and I must admit, I have suffered from wilt on my Sieboldii, although not with this one…..yet!).

10. Viticella ‘Polish Spirit’

In my garden, I have never known Polish Spirit to flower before August, although the books say July to September. I find it goes August to October…November in a mild autumn. When it does flower, it is absolutely covered with lovely mid-sized deep violet blooms. I think it is an absolute treat in the autumn to see such vivid colour. I used to have this on a totally shaded corridor in my old garden and it never even flinched..and it was in a raised bed so although I did water it, it must be able to cope with a bit of dryness. Grows to 3m Max and Group 3 pruning.

So, if you’re fed up with wilt and are looking for something a bit less high-maintenance….have a go at growing some of these. I don’t think you’ll be sorry!

More blog posts by karensusan63

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Comments

 

beautiful pictures, put this on my favourites for future reference, thank you; i can see you enjoy researching ~ have you ever thought of writing a gardening book?

24 Jun, 2012

 

That's really helpful, Karen. I would add Multi Blue, which has never had wilt here or indeed in my last garden.

24 Jun, 2012

 

Lucky you Oji! You two are pretty fast readers! :D Sticki, no, I like to share with you all on here...less work than writing books and I don't have the horticultural know-how for book-writing. This is just from my personal experience as an 'amateur'. :D Thank you though!

24 Jun, 2012

 

A great informative blog. Sadly none of mine are in your recommended :(
Although I have what might be Niobe or Ville de Lyon - it does well in my garden, usually, except this year it's a duffer!!
The 2 clematis doing well in my garden this year is The Vagabond and Nelly Moser. Nelly is in a container - but she will be moved to the garden when she has finished flowering.
Thoroughly enjoyed that thank you :)

24 Jun, 2012

 

:-)

24 Jun, 2012

 

What a collection you have there Karen, wonderful!

24 Jun, 2012

 

I have the Vagabond Scottish and it's one of my faves! :D Gorgeous, and so far, so good!

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks Michaella. I have about a hundred now I think, but they are never all a success. These 10 always are though!

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks for this Ks, I too will fave it for future reference. My President has some mildew this year, not on all its flowers, but never had it on clems before, do you know what causes it? Surely it can't be dry at the roots!:-)

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thankyou :) added to favourites for later, need to get my finger out and get the painting done so I can get some climbers while so cheap in Morrisons (priced some today in a small local garden centre but at £8 a plant sadly out of my range) ....I very nearly bought Solanum Crispum today in Morrisons..... but was put off as the flowers look so like nightshade flowers and I dont want to confuse mini doodle xxxxx

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks for that Karen very informative blog, nice to have recommendations from someone who's actually grown them, I love Viennetta,I'm adding to favourites too for future reference :-))

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thankyou KS, for a brilliant informative blog. So helpful.
The seed heads on the Chiisanesis ‘Love Child’ are really pretty aren't they and the Viennetta is a beauty. You have some beauties there. Saved to my favs too for reference.

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thank you everyone. As for the mildew...I don't know. It is in the air isn't it. I have it on my roses, and I suppose it hangs around looking for a suitable host. Luckily it is easier to control than the fungus that causes wilting..just use a fungicidal spray if you can bear to!

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks,K, very helpful......Arabella and Niobe have also performed well for me.Just about to put up the question!

24 Jun, 2012

 

Some lovely ones there, Karen. I have Arabella and Polish Spirit and they do brilliantly for me too. A favourite of mine is Mme Julia Correvon with wine coloured blooms. It copes with shade and, being a viticella, is so easy to prune. This year its flowers are twice normal size for a viticella, so it looks stunning.

24 Jun, 2012

 

Add to my Favs as well,they told me at a garden centre the cause of mildrew was dry roots true or not ????

24 Jun, 2012

 

Karen a very useful blog, added to my favs, the only ones on your list that we have are Arabella, Niobe, Polish Spirit, and although not added Mme Julia Correvon, we have about 50 at the last count, and I will be adding some from your list especially the Flammula.......

24 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks for that Karen - Ive added this to my favourites, along with some of your other blogs like your recommendations for small trees. Clematis are such lovely plants. I think no garden should be without at least one. I was put off growing them because of the dreaded wilt a few years ago. I like them so much and because Ive seen them on here have started growing them again. I have a few of your favourites already but will definately find room for a few more now.

24 Jun, 2012

 

Well written, Karen !
Lots of interesting information here.
This must have taken some time to put together.
I'm adding the blog to GoYpedia Climbing Plants :o)

25 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks everyone...it seemed a good time to write another Clematis blog with all this awful wet cold weather. As for the Mildew, I really don't know any more than that it is a fungus and if you spray with a fungicide, you can control it. I know that good air circulation is one of the ways to prevent it, but my garden is very full so there is bound to be some crowding. I've heard it proliferates in dry conditions, but I have had 'no' dry conditions this summer, and yet still have a lot of mildew on some of my roses.....sorry, I don't have the answer I'm afraid!

Got this from Wikepedia..."What horticulturalists and gardeners often refer to as mildew is more precisely called powdery mildew. It is caused by many different species of fungi in the order Erysipelas. Most species are specific to a narrow range of hosts, and all are obligate parasites of flowering plants. The species that affects roses is Sphaerotheca pannosa var. rosae.
Another plant-associated type of mildew is downy mildew. Downy mildews are caused by fungus-like organisms in the family Peronosporaceae (Oomycota). They are obligate plant pathogens, and the many species are each parasitic on a narrow range of hosts. In agriculture, downy mildews are a particular problem for growers of potatoes, grapes, tobacco and cucurbits."

Here's another useful page from the BBC....http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/advice/pests_and_diseases/identifier.shtml?powdery_mildew

25 Jun, 2012

 

I love the blog Karen and will also save it to my favs. I usually have signs of Mildew on my large honeysuckle by now but this year it seems to be all clear so fingers x.

25 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks ever so much for sharing this with us Karen, I think I am going to buy them all!!! they are so beautiful. Could you please tell me what the flowers are in the background in the first picture, the purple with the yellow centres as I love those too.

25 Jun, 2012

 

Karen I just noticed the name of the first plant in your blog so sorry for asking again.... I cant stop looking at the gorgeous pictures so thank you for sharing so much valuable information. As your an expert on clems can I just ask about Flammula Triternata Rubromarginata (wow what a mouth full) I have 3 wisterias which I would love something to ramble through in the summer, would you recommend this one for that purpose?

25 Jun, 2012

 

Marion, I think that would be fab. You just need to ensure that the Clematis has plenty of room for it's roots. Don't plant it too close up to your Wisteria. What a great idea! :D

25 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks Karen, I will get working on sourcing them this weekend but it may be next year for me to get a display like yours, if I am lucky....

25 Jun, 2012

 

That's where all of my clematis are, on the pergola, rambling through the wisteria...the first flowers appear just after the wisteria blooms fade, which I really like.

This is a great blog, Karen! I think I've got to get me a Love Child...! :))

26 Jun, 2012

 

Saved for faves Karen. I intend to get a couple more Clematis. That double one is lovely. I have one labelled as a double, new this year, but only seen a single flower.

26 Jun, 2012

 

wow a very clemtastic blog, luvly pics and some great info, added to faves, i'll be doing one of these (when the rest of my clems flower ; )

26 Jun, 2012

 

Thank you all..Stevie, I am looking forward to yours! :D

26 Jun, 2012

 

Fantastic blog again Karen. I'm putting it in my favourites so i can think which to choose for some spaces I can think of. The Secret Garden in Wiltshire near Malmesbury have a great selection and one I bought for my grandaughter last year has been sensational so I'll be paying them another visit when I go down south next time. Thanks for sharing.

26 Jun, 2012

 

Your'e welcome Sg. that Secret Garden sounds a lovely place! :D

26 Jun, 2012

 

You will find them on this link. They are in the RHS plant finder under the Walled Garden
http://www.clematis-nursery.co.uk/page4.html

26 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks SG! :D

26 Jun, 2012

 

Karen as always on favoutites just an excelent blog.

I have so many in the garden all in bud just waiting to burst.

So glad we met up yesterday.

27 Jun, 2012

 

Thank you Kath! :D

27 Jun, 2012

 

I've also put this on as one of my favourites. I have only a few clematis as they don't all get full sun and as we are on sandy soil ( which I keep manuring) the soil does tend to dry out quick, so this has given me a few ideas , Karen. Thanks.

27 Jun, 2012

 

You are very welcome Rose. I just had to take the hellebore seeds you were after in yesterday as they were in danger of rotting in the rain. I have put them in the conservatory to dry out and will get them in an envelope to you soon :D

27 Jun, 2012

 

Thanks Karen, I appreciate that. By the way , I'm not into computer speak, what does : D mean?

28 Jun, 2012

 

:D is just a great big smile Rose! :D

28 Jun, 2012

phs
Phs
 

Being a clematis fan I just loved your blogg! Such useful information. Can you tell me though, do clematis plants need to be dead-headed, or would that introduce disease into the plant?

Many thanks.

Anne

29 Jun, 2012

 

Hi Anne, that is a great question. Certainly the ones with the furry seedheads don't need dead-heading, but I have some large flowered ones that I do dead-head because the dying flowers rot on the leaves. It hasn't caused any problems for me so far. I suppose the rotting flowers lying on the leaves would be more likely to cause disease than dead-heading with a sharp pair of secateurs. Fraid I don't know the 'official' answer, but I find dead-heading to be a positive procedure with most things....:) Thank you for your comment. I haven't met you before, and see you are another Scottish member...must add you to my faves! :D

30 Jun, 2012

 

Just realised the Clematis I particularly liked is called Viennetta our favourite icecream!! Will definately be looking out for it.

2 Jul, 2012

 

:) it's lovely Dorjac, I've just uploaded a photo of mine today...first flower on it.

2 Jul, 2012

 

Karensusan - many thanks for such a wonderful and informative blog. It has been added to my favourites. I wish I was more organised with my plant names.....

3 Jul, 2012

 

You are very kind Rachel's mum and most welcome! Don't worry about the names though, they stick with me because my brain just works that way. Years of Latin and various other languages and the only thing it's used for now is plant names!

4 Jul, 2012

 

Hi Karen,

I saved your beautiful blog from last year as I loved all of your clematis and ideas for them. I must say i have ordered some of your suggestions and I am looking forward to planting them this year, I hope they look as good as yours. I loved your Solanum Crisum so I got one of those too, the only trouble is that I have every fence and wall packed with existing climbers and I was wondering if you think it would work climbing it up wisteria or clematis montanna, or do you think it would be too much for them, I would really appreciate your advice. Thanks

19 Apr, 2013

 

Hi Marion, I think it would be a little too heavy to partner your other climbers. I have one growing up a tree, and two on my wooden arches. They do get extremely woody. Sometimes I have wondered if you might be able to prune them into a free standing 'tree', but I've never tried it! Enjoy it though, it is lovely, and it grows really fast!

19 Apr, 2013

 

Karen I kept a Solanum in the bottom garden pruned to a tree shape so I could plant more underneath it. Although it looked lovely it was never really freestanding and eventually fell down in high winds splitting the bottom of the trunk. It's one I would try again but with better support next time. Lovely to see this blog again :o))

19 Apr, 2013

 

Thanks Karen for your advice, I have planted it along the back fence so I can see it everyday, I prefer it to my montanna so I will dig the montanna out when the Solanum grows, ooh I am so excited.....

19 Apr, 2013

 

Thanks for that Annie. I bet if you kept it much smaller for longer the trunk would get thick enough to support it...much like you would with a wisteria.

Marion, me too. This time of year always gets me going! :))

19 Apr, 2013

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