This is something of a guide to choosing some spectacular Clematis varieties, and tips on how to grow them well. For further, detailed information on planting or pruning them, Follow links to other pages on this site about the showy, clambering Clematis
Big Beautiful Flowers
After highlighting the Jackmanii clematis, I realized there is a long list of these big flowering vines (and the smaller ones, too) that I simply love. They make me feel happy when I see them burst out with their unique and colorful flowers. Like old friends I look forward to their annual appearance, each in their season, and have grown to love the aspects each variety brings to the garden.
Perhaps a little nostalgia is involved as I remember plucking a bloom or two to delight my Sunday School students. Four year olds are awed with the giant flowers in their ice cream or vibrant colors. We played a fun memory game involving interesting objects of rocks, clematis blooms, bird feathers, etc.
All the varieties below were chosen with the idea of pairing with the velvet purple of Clematis ‘Jackmanii’. Be sure to read that article for clematis history, tips, and how to grow guidance.
Enjoy this short collection of pretty clematis cultivars; plan to plant at least one in your garden this year.
Other Clematis Varieties – Can you stop with just one?
My Recommended Varieties
Once a gardener begins growing the Clematis vine, they often build a collection. I think I would always begin with Jackmannii because of its beauty and reliability, but have come to be equally impressed with a choice group including ‘Ramona’, ‘Niobe’, ‘Marie Boisselot’, ‘Nelly Moser’, ‘Will Goodwin’.
I grow all of these, and they have performed well.
Some clematis have been lost due to shameful neglect- shaded out when young, being mown over more than once… but when treated to normal garden conditions you will likely have a beautifully blooming vine with longevity that rivals any other.
My list of favored varieties could grow much longer…
Clematis ‘Polish Spirit’ from Wayside Gardens is very similar in look to ‘Jackmanii’, but of a lighter, more reddish purple. The large flowers will entrance you.
Miss Bateman, Large Flowered
Miss Bateman Clematis Vine – Pure White – 2.5″ Pot
While I prefer Marie Boisselot for the large flowered white slot in my clematis collection, Miss Bateman does have her allurements. The dark red color of her anthers being one of them. Flowering very early is her main attribute and that is a feature that may qualify her for first place in choosing a clematis that blooms before, not with, Jackmanii for an extended show
Nelly Moser, Good Partner For ‘Jack’
Nelly Moser was the other variety I grew in tandem with Jackmannii. They provided a long season of beautiful blooms on my porch trellis. This variety is an old one and has large dependable blooms. Very eye-catching.‘Nelly Moser’ Clematis Vine – Perennial – Pink Blooms – 3.5″ Pot
Nelly Moser has very large, pink, star-like blooms with a magenta red stripe down each sepal. It is the “pruning (clematis) group 2” which are pruned in late winter or early spring.
Sweet Summer Love Variety
Try “Good for Beginners” Varieties
- C. ‘Mrs Cholmondeley’
- C. ‘Fujimusume’
- C. ‘Huldine’
- C. ‘Comtesse de Bouchaud’
- C. ‘Venosa Violacea’
Trellises for Roses and Clematis
Clematis, being clambering plants need a support to grow on. In nature they lean on woody shrubs or trees, but in the garden we can provide decorative supports. Posts and fences are often-used supports, but a favorite has always been the trellis.
Roses and clematis are two climbers which are classically paired need a good strong structure to climb on. Supports can do double duty when they are combined with the garden bench. a pleasant seat in a garden is a necessity. When fragrant vines and climbers are grown overhead there is nothing more delightful on a summer’s day.
Read about this classic companion planting, roses and clematis.Rose Romance and Clematis Tales
If you buy the vines, you need to have a support. Luckily I picked out a suggested one for you:Â Arboria Astoria Garden Arbor Cedar Wood. It isÂ over 7ft High, in aÂ Pergola Design with lattice panels.
Of course if you are handy, build your own with posts and lattice from your local Home Depot or lumber supply store.
A design for every taste and garden
In all cases the clematis vine is trained up to the support with a guide such as a thin bamboo rod, string, or similar method, then tie some of the tendrils to the trellis until they begin to wind themselves around the trellis openings.
Those who grow clematis are bound to observe that they vary widely in how vigorous they will grow. Some are quite polite in habit, even growing tentatively, while others are so rambunctious that they require reining in and regular pruning.
Vigor of the Vine
The first two clematis I grew were venerable ‘Jackmannii’ and the classic ‘Nelly Moser’.
Nelly Moser was a noticeably daintier sized plant,Â from the first, While quite robust in health and blooming, Nelly M. was shorter overall and took time to claim space on the trellis. While Jackmannii growth was much more ebullient.
I had always heard that the Autumn clematis was a nuisance in some gardens. It took many years, but eventually I found this was so. I still love it, but it would be overwhelming in many city-sized gardens.
People like to put these vines on their mailbox, however, you can see that it would be important to investigate the growth tendencies before deciding on the cultivar. Besides ‘Nellie Moser’, I felt ‘Niobe (deep red) was a size that is well suited to such a situation, as well. Eventually, they will still be sizable vines, more suited for trellis supports than for mailbox posts.
Tips For Clematis Cultivation
How do you grow this clambering vine so it will produce all those saucer sized blooms? First choose a spot where sunlight shines for about six hours, make sure there is a moist, fertile soil which drains well, and try to create some shade for the lower part of the plant. “Head in the sun, shade at the foot”. Fertilize regularly during the growing season.
These vines take a while to settle in and get established. Be patient. Do not douse them with high nitrogen feedings, or it will further delay the flowering. Use an organic, slow release fertilizer or one for tomatoes.
Clematis is classified into groups; this is one of the more important things to know for growing it well.
Specific groups need attention to pruning in certain ways and times. Instructions are often included when purchasing a plant, But if not, use the name of the variety to determine the group. Once the proper group is known, it is easy to look up the directions on whether to prune your plant and when is the best time.
See the link at the bottom of this page to find about clematis groups and pruning.
Why Just The Big Flowers?
All of these choices are large-flowered, which is most eye catching for just starting out with growing this type of plant. There are hundred and hundreds of this genus which have more wild looking, smaller, and flowers of a different shape. I can’t be pressed into a corner to say I love them more… but maybe I do. Once growing some of the larger sized blooms, think about adding at least one of the less well known species: C. montana orÂ C. alpina perhaps.How to Plant and Grow Clematis
Vines of the Wildwood, Other Types of Clematis
While the smaller flowered types are not grown as often, they create a feeling of a natural landscape. They also can be far more vigorous, with some (autumn clematis, in particular) becoming a nuisance. Plant them with that in mind. These vines can grow quite large and overwhelm a small support; make sure the arbor or trellis is equal to the task.
Small flowered, these are some of the most vigorous, reaching 20 to 40 feet. Their small flowers cover the vine in late spring and early summer, smelling of vanilla. Montana types can be used as a groundcover. They bloom on previous season’s wood.
- C. ‘Elizabeth’
- C. montana ‘Rubens’
Native to the Mediterranean regions, this group needs full sun. Mostly medium sized blooms, often bell-shaped, with smaller sized foliage, Long bloom period on new wood, they grow 10- 15 feet. A group having strong vines, easy to grow, profusely flowering over a long period.
- C. ‘Abundance’
- C. ‘Etoile Violette’
These two groups are representative of a number of fine choices. I also love the Autumn Clematis, which can grow a little too well.
Remember This: Clematis Cultivation
The basics of growing clematis are as follows:
- Heads in the sun, feet in the shade (if possible, or arrange stones over the root area)
- Moist, but not soggy soils
- Pruning according to whether they bloom on old or new wood.
- They like alkaline soils. Will grow in chalk, loam, clay, or sandy given the right conditions.
The Clematis Page
For more details on clematis, bloom/prune groups and how to grow, read my page by clicking on the button.
All About Clematis