Clematis is a perennial vine and called the “queen of climbers”. Clematis varieties are classified into three groups according to blooming time and characteristics: Group 1 (spring bloomers), Group 2 (repeat bloomers), and Group 3 (summer or fall bloomers). Check out this website to find out what group each clematis species belongs to: What Group Is My Clematis?
Some things to consider when selecting a clematis for your garden is the mature height, flower form, color and location. Here are some ideas from the Longfield Gardens website.
Tips for growing clematis:
Do some research: Some grow 3 feet tall and others grow 20 feet or more. Flowering can be late spring, summer or fall, and re-blooming types flowering both early and late in the season. Flower styles vary from big, star-like singles to frilly doubles, and come in a variety of colors. The typical clematis flower form is a large blossom with six or seven petals, measuring 5-6″ across.
Understand how they climb – Vines climb in different ways: twining stems, adhesive pads, or clinging roots. They use their leaf stems to coil like the tendrils of a pea vine. They can only wrap themselves around something that is less than ¼ inch in diameter. Something to remember when choosing a trellis.
Location: Clematis are long-lived and don’t like to be moved. The ideal location has well drained soil that is rich and loamy, the root zone needs to stay relatively cool. To maximize flower production, plant in full sun. They will grow in half-day sun but will have less blooms. Some suggestions are: against a wall, on a fence, near a shrub or small tree, with another vine, along the top of a stone wall and on a free-standing trellis, around a lamp post or in a container.
Taking care when planting. The root system is wiry and vines are brittle and easily broken. Plant in a generous hole. Position the crown of the plant 1” to 2” below the soil surface. Backfill hole and water deeply to settle the roots. Expect your plant to spend the first year getting established and blooms coming in a year or two. Put a cylinder of wire mesh around the plant to protect the young plant from nibbling mice, rabbits and voles. Provide a trellis right from the start.
Provide support – When a vine can’t find something to grab onto, the end stops growing and will die back. Make time in late spring and early summer to corral wandering stems and tie-in top heavy growth. Simplest trellis is a wire grid with openings that are between 1” and 4” in diameter. A chain-link fence will work nicely.
Keep pruning simple – Prune according to the cultivar you have. Pruning can be limited to maintaining the desired shape, removing dead or weak stems. Some can be cut back each year in yearly spring to a height of 12-18”. If your clematis ever outgrows its allocated space, you can cut back the entire plant to a height of 5” in fall or early spring. Stray vines may be trimmed back at any time.