Plantidote of the Day 2011-05-25
I figure most folks are familiar with some version of this woody, climbing vine that can just eventually take over. They are native to the United States and first noted was the Marsh Clematis in 1726. There are a hundred varieties and most climb, the flowers on the vine will change in color depending on light and as they age. They require full sun but their feet need to be in the shade and kept cool and moist. Good luck with that!
Some cultivars flower on old wood, and others on new – so pruning is tricky and you need to determine which type you have. As for range, the American Clematis Society tells us that there’s a cultivar for everyone in zones 4-11. They also say that the correct pronunciation of clematis is “CLEM-uh-tis” which the remnants of my Texas twang will simply not conform to.
When you get Clematis right, when it is dramatically full and draped on a trellis or fence it is just stunning:
EDIT: Thanks to insanelysane for the cultivar id: C. montana "Rubens." This cultivar grows up to 30 ft at maturity, requires no pruning except for shaping after flowering. It blooms on old wood in the spring, and according to the Clematis geeks it is easy to get to grow, almost unkillable and "sometimes gardeners are deterred from planting a montana because they fear it will swamp them in sheer abundance." There's a problem I would love to have!
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