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Clematis (herbaceous) (KLEM-uh-tiss)

Common Name:  Shrub clematis

Light:  - Full sun to part shade

Soil:  Average to rich, moist but well-drained

Moisture:  Average

Blooms:  Summer

Zones:  (3) 4 - 8 (9)


Clematis integrifolia 'Rosea'

Clematis 'New Love' PP#13977

Clematis 'Rooguchi'

Clematis Description and Cultural Information

Clematis heracleifolia, tube clematis. 2' - 3'. This species is a sub-shrub that forms a woody base and a clump of wide, weakly upright, divided foliage. They form clusters of fragrant blue flowers just at the top of the foliage in late summer. Plants do not vine but grow from slightly branching stems that multiply at the root stock. The variety davidiana is more upright with flowers that are less reflexed and a richer shade of blue. The cultivar 'New Love', PP#13977, has striking violet-blue flowers with a slight hint of fragrance. Zones 4 - 8.

Clematis integrifolia, solitary clematis. 24". This clematis has thin, semi-woody stems that rise up from a central clump and are topped with nodding, recurved, bell-shaped violet flowers in mid-summer. The stems are rather weak so they can be staked or just allowed to sprawl naturally against sturdier perennials. They can also be trimmed back to the ground after flowering to keep them a little more tidy. This will encourage new growth and in warmer zones may also encourage a second set of blooms. The cultivar 'Rosea' has magenta-pink flowers. Seed grown strains can produce colors such as light pink, sky blue, or different shades of purple. Clematis 'Rooguchi' is a semi-vining hybrid with pendant violet-purple flowers that are more bell-shaped a little larger than the species. Zones 3 - 9.

Clematis x jouiniana. 5 - 7'. This hybrid has thicker woody stems and is a little sturdier than other shrub-like clematis. It has the potential to sprawl over fences and through shrubs as the new growth continues each year from the terminal of the previous season's woody stem. To keep the plants in check we trim ours back to about knee high in early spring. The flowers are fragrant pale blue with a cream center and appear in very late summer/early fall. The cultivar 'Mrs. Robert Brydon' is sky blue with creamy yellow stamens. 'Praecox' is a rambling, vigorous, non-clasping hybrid with blue tinted, white flowers. Zones 5 - 9.

Clematis recta, ground clematis. 4 - 5'. The closest to a true herbaceous clematis, this plant grows weakly upright with slightly clasping leaves and is covered with small, starry, fragrant flowers in late summer. Deadheading as soon as the flowers begin to fade will encourage new foliage and a possible rebloom. Plants can be allowed to spread and sprawl in the garden or you can stake them or grow them on a trellis, arbor, or obolisk. The variety 'Purpurea' is very attractive with its bronze-purple foliage that is darkest in spring. Zones 3 - 8.

How to Grow:  The shrub and herbaceous clematis are easy to grow in just about any good, well-drained garden soil in full sun to part shade. They will bloom better and grow more vigorously in rich soil although it isn't completely necessary. Clematis integrifolia and Clematis recta can be trimmed back to the ground in late fall or early spring. Clematis heracleifolia and Clematis x jouiniana can be trimmed back to about knee high in very early spring while still dormant to encourage more compact growth in the new season. Deadheading can sometimes encourage rebloom but because of their late flowering time this may only occur in the warmest regions.

Landscape uses:  Plant shrub clematis with just about any sturdy, upright growing perennial and shrub that might act as a natural trellis to hold up the sprawling growth. They can also be planted against an informal fence or be allowed to trail and cascade over a rock wall or ledge. Plant them with late summer blooming perennials such as veronicastrum, sedum, tall garden phlox, cimicifuga, heliopsis, asters, or ornamental grasses.

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