Clematis – Atragene – Old Man’s Beard – Traveler’s Joy – Virgin’s bower –
There are about 250 species of evergreen or deciduous, mainly semi woody to woody, twining leaf climbers and woody based herbaceous perennials, in this genus. They occur in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, including Europe, the Himalayas, China, Japan, Australasia, North and Central America. More than 2,500 mainly large flowered cultivars are grown. Due to the diversity of the species-which includes short growing herbaceous perennials, scandant or trailing shrubs, climbers reaching 30′ feet in height-habit and leaf form vary greatly. The opposite, occasionally alternate, hairy to hairless leaves are simple, 3 palmate, or pinnate or 2 pinnate, with smooth edged to irregularly cut edges. Climbing species attach to host plants or supporting structures by means of their leaf stalks. More specific leaf information is given in the group descriptions below. The mostly bisexual, rarely unisexual flowers are carried singly or in cymes or panicles. They have 4-10 tepals (often referred to as sepals) and vary greatly in shape and size. Clematis are grown for their abundant flowers, often followed by decorative, filamentous silvery gray seed heads. Use climbing species to clothe a wall, arbor, trellis, or pergola, they can also be grown over large shrubs or small trees. Grow herbaceous species in a mixed or herbaceous border.
Grow in fertile, humus rich, well drained soil in sun or partial shade, with the roots and base of the plant in shade. Herbaceous species prefer full sun. Mulch all clematis in late winter with compost or well rotted manure, avoiding the crown. Plant climbing clematis with the top of the root ball about 3″ below the soil surface, to reduce risk of clematis wilt and encourage production of strong shoots from below soil level. After planting, cut back top growth of deciduous climbers to a strong pair of buds about 12″ above soil level, Provide strong support and tie in initially until plants begin to climb by themselves. Support herbaceous species and cultivars with twiggy brushwood.
Plant in groups of 3 and pick from the 3 groups of clematis and have blooms throughout the season.
For ease of reference, clematis may be divided into the following 3 groups:
- Early flowering species
- Early to mid-season flower, large flowers cultivars
- Late, large flowered cultivars
Prone to scale insects, whiteflies, earwigs, aphids, wilt, powdery mildew, rust, fungal spots, and stem cankers
Group 2- Early to mid season, large flowered cultivars – Bears flowers in late spring and early summer on side shoots arising from the previous years growth, and in mid and late summer at the tips of the current years shoots. They are deciduous, with pale to mid green leaves, usually 4-6″ long and divided into 3 ovate or lance shaped leaflets, or simple and ovate, to 4″ long. Flowers are upright, single, semi double, or fully double, and mostly saucer shaped, 4-8″ across.
C. ‘Dr. Rupple’ – This early, large flowered climber grows 8′ feet tall and 3′ feet wide. It freely bears single flowers, 4-6″ across, with deep rose-pink tepals with darker central bands, and light chocolate anthers throughout summer.