The Clematis family of climbing plants come in a huge variety of colors and size of blooms. The flowers range from the inch wide single bloom to the dinner plate double in all the colors you can think of. The growing habit extends from the rampant montana which you are for ever trying to keep under control to smaller shyer varieties. These six tips are from clematis expert Ray Evison and are recorded in an interview he gave to Andy McIndoe which I found on the Learning With Experts website.
No one knows more about growing Clematis than Ray Evison. Many times an RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner, Raymond has bred show-stopping varieties, some of which we?ve featured on this blog. However, what I want first and foremost are Raymond?s top tips for success with these wonderful climbers. They don?t always thrive on my light, sandy, slightly acid soil. Is that the problem? What should I do to make sure they grow and bloom at their best?
1. Clematis must have a cool root area to grow well. Always plant shallow rooted perennials or seasonal bedding plants around the base of a clematis to shade the roots of the plant. This is particularly important when growing them in containers, or when the clematis is planted in a sunny location. Do not use stones or pieces of slate, which are often recommended, as these retain warmth and can heat up the ground, rather than keeping the roots cool.
2. Clematis like to grow in a garden as they do in the wild: in a micro-climate with other plants. Do not plant a clematis on its own to grow up a bare trellis against a wall or on a wooden fence. Plant another wall trained shrub, rose or other climber and then grow the clematis through the host plant.
Doing this gives the maximum benefit in growing conditions and decorative effect. The foliage and flowers of the host plant are a foil for the clematis. Also the clematis may flower when the host plant is perhaps not looking its best.
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