Clematis Vine Niobe, A Lush Deep Red


The Clematis x ‘Niobe’ brings an unusually rich color to your garden, like the color of ruby velvet. It is one of the more restrained sized vines (unlike some of the wilder ones like the Autumn clematis) and gives a full show of blooms covering the plant for relatively long period of time. It will create a remarkable feature when used on a trellis or to decorate a pole.

I like its large maroon flowers with their golden boss, especially alongside a group of Echinacea or in the company of Rosa glauca. It has an almost Gothic look to it. Many advise to contrast it with a white or pink climbing rose or other light colored companion, but I like the play of subtle harmonies that such a deep red can inspire.

'Niobe' Clematis | Garden 2011

Such wine reds to be paired with silver foliage, and soft mauve – preferably in airy sprays of a pink gysophilia plant which likes similar conditions or a planting of bulbs like Allium Christophii (which blooms at a similar time).

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ would complement the colors with its dusky foliage and whitish blooms; its low growing foliage would also give good ground cover under the clematis vine.

If you are lucky enough, a Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ would be a delicious pairing of tones.

I’d also want to try Astrantias and Eupatoriums, since I think they would make subtle contrasts that would highlight the color of the Niobe blooms in just the right way.

Niobe has gained well-earned praise from discerning gardeners. A “type 2” Clematis, it is best pruned in early spring. Cut back about 6 or 8 inches to the nearest pair of strong leaf axil buds; do this about every two to three years.

Another good tip is to mulch the plant well, especially with compost or composted manure.

For more information on how to grow these vines, see my Clematis page.

Clematis: Garden Trellis Stars

Niobe Characteristics:

Clematis – Niobefrom: Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.

  • Grows 8 to 10 feet
  • Hardy from zone 4 to 9
  • Grow in sun, but shade the roots
  • Moisture retaining soil that is well drained
  • Needs good fertility
  • Medium green leaves
  • Medium texture
  • Early flowering with large blooms
  • Blooms on old wood

‘Niobe’ was raised by Wladyslaw Noll from a plant in Poland, then introduced in 1975 by Jim Fisk, so it is a fairly recent introduction. Not for heirloom gardens.

red clematis blooms

Crimson red to deep red blooms makes Niobe a standout.

The variation in flower shade is the effect of how the color changes as the blooms age, particularly with full sun exposure. It doesn’t diminish the beauty at all, and the flowers are very long lasting.

Resource Links
Pruning by growth type




Feature photo by billums

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Ilona Erwin, author

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I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.