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?

Here is a list of clematis cultivars and varieties that will reward gardeners in the Upper South region 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.

As defined by the National Gardening Association, the Upper South stretches from the western half of Maryland to Oklahoma. It includes West Virginia, the Appalachian region of western Virginia, then westward down the Ohio River, including all of Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio, the lower quarter of Indiana, a strip along the northern edge of Arkansas, and the southern edge of Missouri, and across the northern half of Oklahoma.