The Best Loved Purple Clematis

purple sepals

Velvety Purple Jackmanii Flowers

The Jackmanii clematis is probably the best known and best loved of all the clematis vines, and that is saying quite a bit for one of the most gorgeous blooms to grace a climbing plant. But the likely reason so many gardeners choose this particular clematis vine is its ease of care and dependable beauty. This was the first clematis cultivar I grew in my first garden, and the first one I planted in my present garden.

Jackmanii has deep purple velvet flowers of large size. It grows strongly and blooms like crazy over a long period. Stays healthy with little trouble.

Jackmanii Clematis – Beautiful large flowered climber

single purple clematis

Flower detail shows central boss of golden stamens
Source: Tony Alter

This is the climber featured in this article. It is one of the most reliable, free-blooming, and hardy vines to grace your garden. The purple color is deep and the flowers are large, the foliage is healthy and this variety is one of the easiest to have success growing.

Why This Variety Is Superior To Others

When there are so many gorgeous Clematis flowers available, why grow this one? There are doubles and flowers in larger diameters, of interesting color combinations, and so on. But the reason this has become an old standby and one of the best clematis to plant is due to its many great qualities including prolific and dependable bloom. It is one the best looking, overall, with strong growth creating a bower of bloom.

Clematis Jackmanii: Well Established: Container Size: #1
Clematis Jackmanii: Well Established: Container Size: #1

One of the best growing of all the clematis varieties. If given proper conditions it will burst into blooms that cover your trellis or arbor. You will be happy you planted this, it really gives a great flower show.

How To Grow Jackmanii Clematis

Where, How to grow, and Maintenance Care

two vines on fence

Jackmanni with hydrangea petiolaris

Where To Plant Your Vines

The saying goes:

“Her head in the sunshine, her feet in the shade.”

Choose a sunny spot, with at least six hours sun, but give the soil a little cover to keep the soil moist. Mulch is OK, as long as it doesn’t crowd the stem, but some rocks and ground cover is better. The other benefit of a rock or tow is to mark the stem so that it isn’t damaged when the clematis is dormant.

Yes, Clematis Like Moisture

… but they require good drainage. Never let them sit in standing water or boggy conditions.

Fertile soil that doesn’t get overly dry, add some humus or compost to the root area when planting.

  • six hours sun
  • moist, not boggy, soil
  • mulch or plant cover
  • humus
  • regular fertilization, every six weeks during growth
strong growing vine

This is a heavy blooming clematis, and a vigorous grower.

How To Plant Clematis

I always use my Dad’s method of planting clematis (described in my clematis page), but you can also bury the crown of the plant at least two inches below the surface of the ground if it is an older plant. If it is a baby clematis plant and very small, dig the hole so that the crown is two inches below the surface but keep the soil away from a depression around the stem (thus my dad’s method), then as the vine establishes more soil can be mounded on the plant.

More instructions from a clematis enthusiast.

Jackmanii

is a Group 3 type Clematis

Pruning Jackmanii Clematis

Late-flowering clematis vines, like the ‘Jackmanii’, are pruned before growth begins in early spring.

Cut back the stems to a pair of strong buds around 8 inches above the ground level Pruning this way keeps late-flowering clematis from becoming too tangled or heavy and enables them to be trained on shrubs, etc.

Care of Your Clematis

Continue to top dress with compost to keep soil fertile and build humus. Feed every six weeks during the growing season.

White Flower Farm instructions.

Tip # 1

Fertilizer for Flowering Plants – Feed the blooms, not the leaves.

Jobe's 09426 Organic Rose & Flower Granular Fertilizer 4-Pound Bag
Jobe’s 09426 Organic Rose & Flower Granular Fertilizer 4-Pound Bag

This fertilizer is balanced for flowering plants and it is organic, too. Jobe’s is a brand I use for both indoors and out. They make growing flowers easy with their easy to apply fertilizers.

Pretty Purple

blooms in the air

Grown on my trellis, under a maple tree

Companions for Your Clematis Planting

Easygoing groundcovers underneath your vine

I like to use groundcovers around the base of clematis vines, since they help shade the roots and stay low around the plant. You also are spared messing around with the soil which could disturb the clematis stem. Ajuga, especially the metallic purple form looks attractive and has the same growing requirements. Sweet woodruff or Lamium maculatum, Siberian iris, and hardy geraniums.

I have not tried the Heucheras in this way, but I bet the new colored leaf forms could look really striking at the feet of this cultivar. There are many purple leaved heucheras which would be an understated pairing, but if you want contrast, try one of the plants with chartreuse leaves. That is a combination that would pop.

Roses are a classic companion of clematis (or is it the other way around?)

A Classic Planting Romance

COMPANION ANNUALS:

Sweet alyssum, purple or blue petunias, salpiglossis would look rich, and blue ageratum. My preferred way to match up annuals with a perennial vine is to have a container located nearby- so as not to disturb the roots too much, but I’m sure sowing some seed shallowly would do no harm.

Combining similar plants of different color forms works particularly well as you can see in this photo:

jackmanii flowers gloriously

Source: Tony Alter

Why Jackmanii? – What makes this one clematis special?

Veiling a porch

Veiling a porch

In My Country Garden

Maybe because it was the first clematis I chose to grow. But I also planted ‘Nelly Moser’ at the same time as a companion, and every year I loved both of them.

Jackmannii came to the fore, however.

When I moved to my place in the country I put in ‘Jackmanii’ first thing, while I neglected to plant a ‘Nelly Moser’ at all (although I think I had always intended to, but never found just the right place for her).

At first glance the Jackmanii clematis might seem more plain than some of the striped, doubled, or otherwise gussied up clematis flowers. But for some reason the deep velvet purple blooms, centered with pale citron yellow stamens always had a regal air that dignified the vine above its fellows.

Its royal airs would mean nothing if it were stingy with bloom, but the Jackmanni is one of the most generous bloomers and one of the strongest growers (without being at all obnoxious).

In its present situation it doesn’t even get enough sun! But still manages to give a great display… (even though a little too close to the greedy roots of the maple tree). My first Jackmanii vine was facing west, providing color and shade to the trellised front porch of a house in a very urban setting. The sunnier aspect produced much more foliage and flowers than when competing for light and moisture with a tree.

Full Of Flowers

Once settled in, this is a very free bloomer, and does well with some judicious early spring/late winter pruning. Footed by flagstone and Ajuga groundcover these two clematis thrived together. I was hooked on the necessity to grow clematis in my garden.

Because it flowers so freely, it was my habit to pair it with other clematis that were in the type 2 group. This allowed each to have center stage when in flower.

Other Clematis In Pruning Group 3:

  • Polish Spirit
  • Purpurea Plena Elegans
  • Perle d’Azur
  • Clematis Florida, for the south
iron fence supporting a clematis vine

Growing on an iron fence, footed by a contrast in color

I love

Jackmanii purple clematis and the Jackmanni Superba, too.

There has been some change to C. Jackmanii over time, and a discussion of the original plant as described and illustrated by Moore and Jackman and the plant we buy and plant today is somewhat different.Maybe the ‘Jackmanii Superba’ is closer to the original. Either plant that you might wish to buy is still a fine plant with many of the originally loved characteristics. The bloom isn’t quite so broad in diameter, though still large.

“The plant is free in growth, and an abundant and successional bloomer, becoming profusely laden with very large showy flowers of a remarkably rich colour”

-still describes this purple flower well.

Books for Clematis Success

Most gardeners don’t need an entire shelf of books just on the Clematis vine, but these are such gorgeous additions to your landscape that you would benefit from one book, anyway. It is one of those garden plants that repays knowledgeable care with healthy, long lived, perennial flowering.

Grow Your Clematis With Confidence – Keep your garden books handy

You don’t need to memorize everything.

Don’t worry about trying to figure out how to take care of your clematis vines, just keep your reference books on the shelf to refer to when any questions come up.

Times to prune, blooming time, and descriptions are close at hand with a book dedicated to the beautiful clematis family of vines.

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis

When you are serious about growing clematis plants

You may find that you become addicted to these beautiful flowering vines. I started planting them every place I could think of, and I have red, blue, purple, pink, and white ones. I love them all. If you enjoy the clematis family of plants you may also want a tome that guides the growing of them.
An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis
An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis

Definitive work on clematis for those who love and can’t get enough of this plant.

Clematis: An Essential Guide Clematis: An Essential Guide : Profiles of 400 clematis cultivars, history. Helpful chapter on growing clematis wiht other plants.
Choosing Your Clematis Choosing Your Clematis : This book makes sense of the many clematis varieties offered for sale, using twelve examples of each type to give a manageable way in which to know the type best for your garden situation.


Clematis for Small Spaces: 150 High-Performance Plants for Patios, Decks, Balconies and Borders
Clematis for Small Spaces: 150 High-Performance Plants for Patios, Decks, Balconies and Borders

Links

  • International Clematis Society Homepage
    Clematis, clematis, clematis, clematis for growers and lovers of clematis plants, an international society with members all around the world.
  • Clematis Vines And Climbing Roses
    Beautiful large flowers on my varieties, and gorgeous bloom on all types. Clematis are stars in the garden, and roses are their perfect companions.

Originally published 03/20/12