Clematis Plants and How to Grow Them Successfully
The clematis has been around since the 1800s. Today there are more than 300 varieties of clematis. They are perennials—returning year after year—growing larger and covering more area. Easy to care for, clematis have become a favorite for many gardeners all around the world. Clematis come in a large variety of colors. They can be red, white, purple, magenta, pink, blue, lavender, cream, gold, brown, and even multi-color.
According to Paradise Garden, an online mail plant catalog, "Beautiful, graceful, and extravagant bloomers, clematis in the garden adds impact, style, and color. As long as their roots are shaded and their faces are in the sun, clematis will climb over almost anything! (Some varieties can even reach 30'!) Their stunning flowers climb over doorways and fence rows and lend a fairy tale air to even the most basic of gardens. Perhaps that's why clematis are often called the Queen of Flowering Vines!"
How to Plant a Clematis
Planting a clematis is very easy to do. Follow the steps below to ensure a beautiful, healthy, and long-living plant:
- Find a space where the clematis plant can get rainfall. This should be in a sunny spot. However, the base of the plant should have some shade provided from other plants.
- Have a climbing structure in place. It can be a sturdy metal or wood trellis, or the plant can be placed near a post, railing, or wall. Clematis will climb on other plants or trees as well, without causing damage as their vines are delicate and light.
- Plant clematis close to the crown of the plant to encourage new growth, similar to how you would plant tomatoes. This means you need to plant it deeper into the soil than most plants. Remove the leaves at the base of the plant.
- Add bonemeal to the soil. Most gardeners suggest doing this to provide sufficient nutrients to the roots, making the plant stronger.
- Watering often. This is necessary, especially in the beginning, to ensure the plant will thrive.
How to Care for a Clematis
The clematis is very easy to care for and maintain. Follow the steps below for a healthy clematis plant:
- According to experienced gardeners, the clematis can be pruned any time of the year. However, fall is preferable since the conditions are the least stressful for the plant.
- The clematis does not require constant watering, however, it will not thrive if the roots are allowed to dry-out. Be sure to water on a consistent basis.
- Over-fertilizing can cause the leaves to fall off, so be careful and minimize fertilizing frequency.
Growing Tips for the Clematis
Here are a few easy-to-follow tips for growing a clematis successfully:
- Provide a supportive structure for the clematis to grow on.
- Plant in loose, well-prepared garden soil.
- Provide a thin layer of mulch around plant but not more than an inch.
- Position the plant so that the base of the plant is in the shade. (Plants around it will provide the shade it needs near the base).
- The clematis will grow best in full sun.
Questions & Answers
I have brown spots on my clematis with leaves dying can you tell me what the problem is?
Clematis wilt most likely which is a fungal disease that may kill the plant if steps are not taken. Trim the affected vines as closely to the ground as possible. Remove all of the dead vines and leaves that have fallen. The roots should be in shade or covered in a layer of mulch and the vine should have sun exposure.
Where can I buy these plants?
These are often available at Lowe's and Home Depot. I see them every year. They will be potted in a medium-sized container with a small trellis and may only have foliage.