Clematis is a flowering vine which is an ideal plant for growing on an arbor or trellis. There are many varieties of clematis with colors ranging from pure white to dark purple. There is an equal variety of flower shapes which can be single or double with blooms that are less than an inch in diameter to large dinner-plate sized specimens. This article by Kath LaLiberte which I found on the Longfield Gardens website explains how to grow these attractive plants.
Clematis and other flowering vines, play a special role in flower gardens. Since these plants grow up rather than out, they fill spaces that other plants can’t, and introduce a whole new dimension of color and texture.
In Britain, most flower gardens include one or more clematis vines. Here in the U.S, they are far less common. I think that’s because many people aren’t sure where to plant them. So here’s a quick primer about clematis: how they climb, what they like to climb on and the growing conditions they prefer.
How a Clematis Vine Climbs
Vines climb in a few different ways. Some have twining stems (like morning glory and pole beans), some have stem tendrils (grapes and peas). Others have aerial stem roots (climbing hydrangeas and English ivy) or specialized gripping pads (Boston ivy and Virginia creeper). There are also “scramblers”, which can’t really climb on their own, but can lie around and look pretty or be tied up onto a structure (climbing roses and bougainvillea) .
Clematis use their leaves as tendrils. When the plant’s leaves are young, the leaf stems are supple and can wrap around things. Unlike stem tendrils, these leaf tendrils are relatively short, so they can only twine around something that’s less than about ¼”-inch in diameter. This is important when it comes to providing the right kind of support.
How to Support a Clematis Vine
Though there are some types of clematis that have a bushy growth habit, most of them are born to climb. As with other climbing plants, the growing end of the vine is on a mission, searching for something to grab onto. If the vine can’t find anything to attach itself to, it will stop growing and die back. So providing the right type of support helps the plant look good and grow well.
See more at Longfield Gardens