Clematis: a beautiful climber
If you are looking for a vine with blossoms that will be certain to grab your attention when they unfold, then the clematis is what you are seeking.
This perennial vine has leafstalks, which act like tendrils, and will fasten the plant to whatever supporting structure you are using.
This is a great plant to cover a trellis and turn it into a magical gateway. In fact, the clematis will cling to mailboxes, fences, tree stumps and light poles.
The clematis provides food and shelter for our feathered friends.
However, this will not all happen overnight, it will take several years for the clematis to come into is full dense blooming stage. The wait is more than worth it.
The eventual height that the plant will reach will depend upon the variety that you plant with a range between six and 30 feet. Make sure, as in all gardening, you pick the right plant for the right place.
When it comes to the clematis spreading sideways, you can train the plant to perform as you wish.
The clematis will bloom from June to September which makes it a valuable summer season plant. Its showy blooms can be up to five inches across, once aging depending upon the variety that you choose.
The clematis will grow in full sun and can handle some shade, a favoured location is where the clematis’s base is in shade and the crown sees the sun.
Fertile, moist and well-drained soil that is neutral or slightly alkaline is best.
In the hot weeks of summer be sure to water regularly as you will want to keep the roots cool.
When your clematis reaches two feet in height you can begin to train it; if you have spring blooming clematis do not prune until after the bloom period. At that time, cut off any stems that are damaged and shape the vine to your liking.
If you have hot summers, adding mulch, organic, about two to four inches deep around the plant to keep the roots cool; do not have the mulch touch the main stem.
You will need to provide some form of support for your clematis, a fence trellis, arbor or other structure will do. It is important to consider that the plant is likely to grow eight to 10 feet up before sending out any lateral growth so choose your support accordingly.
Common Clematis Pests:
Blister beetles are aptly named because if you touch them with your bare hands you may develop a blister from the substance the beetle secretes. Wear gloves and you can pick them off the plant.
If the infestation is more than you can handle then consider a mixture of pyrethrum and isopropyl alcohol. Pyrethrum is made from chrysanthemums and can be used safety.
Clematis borers are another pest. If, in midsummer, you notice that your vines and the branches seem stunted and die you may have clematis borers setting up home. The best solution is to cut out and burn the infested stems; remove the soil from around the crown and get rid of any larvae you see.
The clematis will reward your efforts season after season.