elsa spath clematis

Clematis are popular, perennial, ornamental vines that come in many flower forms and colors. Clematis can be planted from spring into early fall. They are very showy vines. Bloom times can vary from spring to fall.

If you plan well you can have clematis in flower from spring to fall. Most blooms are open-faced and some are quite large reaching up to 7″. The blooms attract hummingbirds while the plants are deer and rabbit resistant.

Plant Clematis near trellises, rock walls, or any other structure that the vines can climb up. Their roots like to go deep, and they prefer evenly moist soil. Water regularly and don’t let them dry out. They benefit from planting annuals or a low growing shrub close by that can keep the roots shaded or they can be mulched instead. Mulching will help them overwinter better too.

Plant in full sun 24-36″ apart. Some varieties will grow in part sun. Clematis will grow as high as they can each season.

Prune clematis in the spring after planting to promote branching and more flowering. See below for pruning instructions. Stake to train the clematis to the trellis or other support structure.

Pruning Groups

Pruning Group 1 – These bloom on old growth, and should not be pruned until after the flowering is complete. Prune by removing dead or damaged stem after flowering. Large plants are not normally pruned. After pruning, secure the vines to the trellis or structure. If the plant has overgrown the available space, the best time to prune is after flowering. New growth we begin after pruning and produce vines for next year’s flowers.

nelly moser clematis

Pruning Group 2 – These will set buds on the growth from the previous year during the early season bloom and then on current new growth later in the summer. To prune, remove dead or damaged vines late in the winter or early spring. In early spring, look for swelling leaf buds and cut back all dead shoots above these buds. These buds will be swelling, bumps on the stem just above a spot where the vine branches. Tie all vines to the trellis or structure at this point. Be sure not to tie too tightly and hamper growth.

Pruning Group 3 – These bloom from new growth later in the season so they will need to be pruned more aggressively. They should be pruned in February and March. Cut back to 6-8″ when the new leaf buds start to show on the lower parts of the plant. Remove all dead material above the leaf buds. Clean off the dead foliage as well.

We grow Clematis in our 1G Premium Perennial size and carry 9 varieties.

Earnest Markham

Earnest Markham has large, magenta-red blooms with gold antlers that can grow 4-6″ across. It is a vigorous variety. They bloom July, August and September. Pruning Group 3.

earnest markham clematis
© DONAHUE’S GREENHOUSE 2021 

Elsa Spath

Elsa Spath has lavender blooms with red antlers. They bloom early to mid summer then again in late summer to early fall. It is very free flowering. The blooms can reach 6-7″ during the first bloom and may only reach 4-5″ during the second bloom. This German hybrid has been around since 1891. Pruning Group 2.

elsa spath clematis

Hagley Hybrid

Hagley Hybrid has light to medium pink blooms with reddish antlers. The edges of the petals are ruffled. Blooms are 5-6″ wide. Hagley is a vigorous clematis. Planting in a lightly shaded location will help prevent the flowers from fading too quickly. It blooms in June and September. Pruning Group 3.

hagley hybrid clematis

Henryi

Henryi has large 6-7″ pure white blooms with a light cream crease down the center of each petal and brown antlers. This variety explodes with color in June then blooms again in September but with fewer blooms. Pruning Group 2.

henryi clematis

Jackmanii

Jackmanii is a profuse bloomer with blooms that are dark purple. Each bloom has only 4 petals and are 4-6″ wide. Bloom times are June, July and September. Pruning Group 3.

© DONAHUE’S GREENHOUSE 2021 

John Paul II

John Paul II has light pink blooms with a darker pink stripe down each petal that deepens as the bloom ages. Each bloom will get 5-6″ in diameter during the first round of blooms in May-June, and they will be slightly smaller during the second round of blooms in September. The pink stripes will retain their color longer if planted in a slightly shadier spot. Pruning Group 2.

© DONAHUE’S GREENHOUSE 2021 

Nelly Moser

Nelly Moser has large 6-8″ blooms that are pale pink with a darker pink bar down the middle of each petal. They make a beautiful display in June and a less robust, but still showy, display in September. Nelly will grow in part shade. People have enjoyed Nelly Moser since 1897. Pruning Group 2.

nelly moser clematis

Niobe

Niobe is a large bloom variety with magenta-red blooms. The blooms reach 5-6″ and have pointed petals and gold antlers.  Blooming begins in June then again in August and September. Pruning Group 2.

© DONAHUE’S GREENHOUSE 2021 

Sweet Autumn

Sweet Autumn is covered in late summer with pure white, 1″ star-shaped blooms that are fragrant. The blooms continue into mid-fall but the show is not over. The seed heads are silvery and will continue to add interest to your landscape through the fall months. Sweet Autumn is a vigorous clematis. Pruning Group 3.

White Clematis

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