Types of Clematis
Types of Clematis
There are many different types of Clematis with more varieties being bred all the time to develop ever more attractive flowers. Because there are so many to choose from it is worth looking at different images to decide what you like, when you want the Clematis to flower and the flower shapes which appeal to you. There are 10 different flower shapes. The image above left is C. Crystal fountain which is a variety bred for growing in small spaces, patios and containers as it only grows to around 1.8 m with very attractive flowers. Compare to C montana, which is a very vigorous Clematis, and grows 5-14m depending on the conditions. If you want to cover a wall quickly C. montana is ideal as in the image left.
There are Clematis to flower at different times of the year. The popular large-flowered varieties are seen blooming away during the summer months, but the Clematis season is much longer than just summer flowers.
Early flowering Clematis
The image above centre is C. cirrhosa which flowers in late winter and is evergreen. Early flowering too are C. alpina illustrated left which flowers late winter /early spring with delicate nodding flowers. Alpina is very hardy which makes it ideal for cold spots in the garden. It is deciduous and needs little or no pruning.
Contrast with Clematis armandii, left image 3rd down from the top, which has lovely white creamy flowers and glossy evergreen leaves. Ideal in many ways, but only ** hardy which means that it has to be in exactly the right spot to grow so well otherwise it looks a bit like the one in the image which is slightly chilly so that its leaves are not as glossy and flowers not so abundant. If you have the right spot, it is very hard to beat the beauty of C. armandii, but it must be sheltered.
Late flowering Clematis.
One of the late flowering Clematis in bloom late summer/early autumn is illustrated top right, C.tanguita 'Bill MacKenzie' with wonderful fluffy seed heads which look so attractive. It is a vigorous, easy quickly but vigorous means vigorous; 6 metres plus and it can easily swamp the plants around it so plant with care. In the right space it looks great and the seed heads are long lasting.to grow Clematis which will fill a space
Another late, Autumn flowering Clematis is terniflora illustrated bottom left a really lovely delicate semi evergreen Clematis. Terniflora is fully hardy and has the additional benefit of being scented which is not so common in Clematis and leaves behind attractive seed heads. It will grow to around 5-6 meters and looks great trailing along a wall or fence.
Clematis for growing in containers
There are now a number of clematis suitable for growing in containers which makes them ideal for a sunny patio.Illustrated is C. 'Crystal fountain' It grows up to 1.8m (6ft) and is widely available pruning group 2. Other compact varieties are C. 'Fujimusume', which has single light blue flowers pruning group 2 and the RHS garden merit award and Clematis 'Baby star Zobast' which grows 1-2m ( 3-5 ft )with pure white flowers and is shade tolerant, pruning group 3.
There are a whole range of C. 'Boulevard' with a great variety of colours from the specialist grower Raymond Evison which are also available from other main supliers of Clematis. If you want to grow in containers select a large pot around 40x30cms deep, and use a good quality compost. Try and place the container so that the Clematis roots are in the shade, if possible.
There are some scented Clematis although Clematis are mainly grown for their attractive flowers rather than scent. Clematis montana 'Elizabeth' has a lovely vanilla scent and montana 'Oderata' as expected is also scented. Illustrated left 4th down C. Terniflora is scented.
The slightly tender C. armandii 'Apple Blossom' as you may expect is scented, described as almond scented. C. flammula again almond scented
Easy to Grow Clematis
Easy to grow Clematis really means those varieties which do not have pruning requirements and these are all Group 1, the early flowering Clematis. In this group are Alpina illustrated second top left , and montana and their cultivars illustrated top left and on the adjacent Clematis page. There are some lovely varieties of montana with delicate pink flowers and scented. If you don't want to have to prune the clematis every spring stick to group 1
Shade tolerant Clematis
Although principally sun loving there are a lot of Clematis which will tolerate semi shade. A number of the C. montana such as Oderata, Freda and Grandiflora all of which have the RHS garden merit award
C. 'Nelly Moser' illustrated left is a lovely early to mid season flowering Clematis which grows to around 2-3m and fully hardy. The flowers are a lovely shade of pink with attractive stripes. Many of the Clematis viticella such as Carmencita a lovely Crimson pink late flowering Group 3; Etoile Violette a lovely purple Clematis which flowers well and has award; and Clematis Piilu which will tolerate any aspect.
The C. Alpina group described above will all tolerate semi shade flowering in early spring.
A number of the specialist growers advertise many semi shade tolerant Clematis and by selecting a variety which has the logo as the RHS award of garden merit you cannot go far wrong. A couple of tips when buying Clematis if you can pick a plant with more than one stem rather a plant with a cluster of stems as it will make a better plant. Keep the label as it will give you pruning advise. If you have lost the label help is at hand.