To see a clematis in full bloom is to understand why it is called the queen of flowering vines. As climbers, Clematis are unsurpassed in their long flowering presence, their rich diversity of flower shapes, their wide array of colors and tolerances in terms of exposure and climate. It is no wonder they are so popular! From tree huggers to container varieties, there is a Clematis for every garden and flowers for almost every month of the year!
Members of the Ranunculaceae family, they include more than 300 species and hundreds of hybrids. They create year after year a ravishing colorful show in the garden whether solely trained on walls, arbors or trellises, or grown in association with other climbers. With few demands on the gardener, clematis will reward you with a profusion of gorgeous blossoms. Clematis are divided into 3 groups based on bloom times, flowering habits and pruning requirements.
But which clematis will you choose?
The Chicago Botanic Garden undertook an evaluation project to determine which clematis were suitable for cultivation in midwest gardens. Initiated in the spring of 1990 and continued through the fall of 1995, 64 species and cultivars were included in the project.
Here is a list of Clematis varieties which performed extremely well and obtained good to excellent ratings. They will reward you with exceptional floral displays, provided you respect their cultural conditions and site placement:
- Ideally, Clematis prefer having their 'heads in the sun and their feet in the shade'. Keep the roots cool and shaded by other plants or add a layer of pebbles or flat stones at the base.
- Best floral performance and disease resistance is usually seen in south-facing positions.