Clematis (KLEM-uh-tis) is a genus of flowering plants native to China and Japan belonging to the Ranunculus family. They are known to be vigorous growers, but there are a few shrubs that won’t grow more than 4 feet tall. Some plants are deciduous, while others are evergreen.
It produces masses of showy flowers in various colours including: purple, yellow, pink, blue and white. Many clematis are lightly scented. Flowers vary in shape and sizes. They can be flat, tubular or bell-shaped and can be as small as 1 inch wide or as large as 5 inches across. Flowering period varies depending on species; some will flower in the summer, while other sin the fall.
Clematis is one of the most popular vines, adding height, colour and beauty to many gardens. These beautiful climbers would be ideal for walls, fences, trellises and arbors. Plant in a sunny spot in moist, well-drained soil. The roots should be kept cool, while the rest of the plant should receive at least 6 hours of sun. Apply a layer of mulch on top of the soil to keep roots cool. Do not over water, as it does not like standing water or wet feet. Clematis does best in slightly alkaline soil. If the soil is too acidic, add lime to neutralize. Feed with a liquid fertilizer during early spring.
Pruning isn’t necessary, but it does keep the plant attractive and encourage new flowers.
Climate Zones: 4-9
Fun Flower Facts about the Clematis
- The name Clematis comes from the Greek word “klematis,” meaning vine.
- This plant is also sometimes known as “Old Man’s Beard,” which gets its name from the long fluffy seed heads that look like an old man’s beard.
- All parts of the plant are considered toxic and can cause severe burning sensation and ulcers in the mouth.
- Clematis vines are flexible, which makes them perfect for making wreaths.
- The leaves and seeds of the C. ligusticifolia was once used as a black pepper substitute when black pepper was very rare and expensive.
- Climbing Clematis (georgiabackyardnature.com)
- Virgin’s Bower – Clematis Virginiana (wildflowergardener.wordpress.com)