Climbing roses and clematis are perfect companions. They happily share the same arch, trellis, pergola, doorway or garden wall, both reaching for the sun and providing a lush vertical floral display. They also have the same natural needs, require the same growing conditions (rich soil, moist, well-drained soils) and benefit from the same fertilizers. They often are of similar sizes with the result that neither swamps the other.
They also complement one another. The clematis foliage can hide the rose's bare legs. The roses add their lovely fragrance. And when combining their blooms, they often look many times more beautiful, making a much more dramatic impact, than on a standalone basis.
You also benefit from this companionship in terms of floral display. If both roses and clematis bloom during the same period, you get twice the flower power and enrich the color palette of one single garden spot. If you select roses and clematis with different flowering periods, you will be extending their spectacular color show over a longer period of time. In both cases, you win!
However, before starting combining roses and clematis, you need to learn a few things as not all clematis and roses work well together. Before pairing clematis and roses, learn about them.
- When pairing roses and clematis, you need to consider size, color, fragrance, and timing of their respective blooms. The diverse clematis family provides you with a wide choice in terms of flower size (large, small, single, double) and shapes (cross-shaped, bell-shaped, star-shaped), color (purple, blue, pink, red, white or bicolor), fragrance, disease-resistance.
- Large-flowered clematis are rarely fragrant and may suffer from wilt, a disease specific to clematis. Small-flowered clematis usually have a profusion of smaller flowers, which may be scented, and are rarely affected by wilt. Therefore, you may want to consider them over the large-flowered ones.
- Climbing roses also offer a wide array of possibilities in terms of color, flowers (single or double), fragrance, disease resistance, etc. Be sure to consider their mature size before selecting a rose variety. For instance, some climbing roses are far too tall for pillars or arches and should be grown into trees instead. Pay attention to their growth habit too. Some climbers are too stiff to be trained while others like ramblers, can be easily twisted thanks to their flexible canes.
- A third criteria to consider is flowering. Generally, gardeners prefer reblooming varieties in order to enjoy a longer season of blossoms. However, once blooming climbing roses or ramblers often produce quantities of bloom far in excess of most repeat bloomers.
Both groups include varieties that bloom early, midseason, and late, therefore leading to 3 possibilities in terms of flowering:
1. The clematis can be grown to flower before the roses.
2. The clematis can be grown to coincide with the flowering of the roses.
3. The clematis can be grown to flower after the roses.
- You can combine up to 3 different clematis with one climbing rose. One advantage of combining several clematis with a rose is to extend the floral display over a longer period of time. For instance, you may select one early-flowering variety of clematis that will bloom before the rose, another midseason variety that will bloom together with the rose, and a late-flowering variety that will bloom after the rose has finished. Alternatively, the clematis can be selected to all flower together for a maximum visual impact.
- Avoid combining Clematis montana with roses. This clematis is so vigorous and exuberant that it has a tendency to overwhelm a shrub rose and may even damage climbing roses. If you still have your mind set on this type of clematis, make sure you select compact varieties such as Clematis 'Freda'.
Create Terrific Rose and Clematis Combinations
Both clematis and roses are available in a wide range of colors, making the color pairing possibilities almost endless. This is just a matter of taste.