Alice Fisk

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 Introduction to Clematis

 Planting Your Clematis

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 When to Plant your Clematis
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 Planting on a Fence or Trellis
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 Planting through trees

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Specifics for our Colder Climates

In colder climates where temperatures drop below 0F (-20C) foundation planting and mulch are required to ensure a long life. High light and long days can be ideal growing conditions for clematis if a little care is taken when planting. By following our planting instructions, most varieties will survive and flourish.

Clematis set their buds when their stems reach the proper degree of hardness, so clematis which take a full season to ripen in our temperate regions, will ripen and bloom in the same season in our high light, high heat regions.

If a group B clematis has its top growth frozen to ground level, when planted properly (planting instructions followed explicitly), new growth will come from buried dormant buds, and you will enjoy your flowers in mid summer rather than early summer. Because of the hot dry climate of these regions it is imperative that clematis have shelter from a baking hot sun. If planting on a sunny south or west wall clematis need to be protected from the reflective heat of the sun. Under these conditions the old adage of "their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade" must be adhered to at all times. An excellent method of accomplishing this is to plant behind a low growing shrub that will give shade to the first 3' (1m) of the plant.

Double flowering varieties are usually not recommended in colder zones. They grow fine; however, if the tops freeze back and the previous season's growth is lost, single flowers only will be produced. If any double flowers do develop they will occur late in the season rather than early.

Specifics for more Temperate Zones

In our temperate regions where temperatures never drop below 0F (-20C) clematis plantings are limited only by imagination. Picture clematis cascading over a fence; enjoy a vine covered cottage; delight in it rambling through your trees. One of my favorites is a climbing rose with a summer blooming variety roaming through it.

Clematis are not a heavy strangling vine. They grow through their host doing very little damage. If planting against a wall, your trellis should be constructed in such a way that it can be let down in one piece at house painting time. Most varieties perform well in full or filtered sun. Although clematis prefer four or more hours of good light each day, they will grow in most locations, including a bright north wall. The pastel colored hybrids have more intense blooms if grown in one of your shadier locations.

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