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Combining Roses and Clematis

Clematis and Roses Combinations, Best Climbing Roses, Best Clematis, Planting Roses and Clematis, Pruning Roses and Clematis

Combining Roses and Clematis, Mixing clematis and roses, Growing clematis and roses, Clematis and Roses Combinations, Best Climbing Roses, Best Clematis, Planting Roses and Clematis, Pruning Roses and Clematis

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. In both cases, you win!

However, before 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 the 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 criterion to consider is flowering. Generally, gardeners prefer reblooming varieties 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.
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  • 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. 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 maximum visual impact.
  • Avoid combining Clematis montana with roses. This clematis is so vigorous and exuberant that it tends 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.

Guide Information

Plant Type Perennials, Roses
Genus Rosa - Climbing Rose, Rosa - Rambling Rose, Rosa, Clematis

1 - Choose a Climbing or Rambling Roses

2 - Choose a Clematis based on its type or its blooming season

Alternatively, get inspired by these successful Roses and Clematis combinations

Planting Clematis and Roses

  • The ideal location for both clematis and roses is in a sunny (at least 6 hours of sun per day) and sheltered spot to avoid heavy winds that damage the plants. Clematis prefer having their ‘heads in the sun and their feet in the shade’. Keep their roots cool and shaded by other plants, or add a layer of pebbles or flat stones at the base. Afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer areas.
  • Both plants need a lot of water. While climbing roses can go without water for a fairly long period, the clematis cannot.
  • Roses and clematis should be planted in spring.
  • Both plants love rich, moist, well-drained soils, so amend the soil before planting with compost or well-rotted manure. The clematis should be planted at least 1 foot (30 cm) and preferably 3 feet away (90 cm) from the rose or their roots will compete against each other. If planted near a wall, place them at least 12 – 18 in. (30 – 45 cm) from the wall.
    Plant roses with the graft union 2 – 3 in. (5 – 7 cm) below the soil line in cold winter areas and slightly above the soil level in warmer regions.
    Plant clematis with the crown 2 – 4 in. (5 – 10 cm) below ground level.
    Train the clematis stems into the rose with canes, stakes, wire, or string.
  • Add a 2 – 3 in. deep (5 – 7 cm) layer of mulch to help retain moisture and suppress weeds. Keep the mulch away from the stems (4 in. or 10 cm) to reduce the chances of wilt developing.
  • Fertilize in early spring before flower buds start to swell, and again in the fall. Discontinue liquid fertilizer when the plants are in bloom because it will shorten their flowering period.

Caring for Clematis and Roses

  • Prune established roses just as growth begins, typically in early spring. Train the canes of climbing roses as horizontally as possible and remove old and dead wood. Prune young shrub roses to about 6 – 8 in. (15 – 20 cm) from the ground.
  • Concerning pruning, clematis fall into three categories:
    Group 1 – Early-flowering clematis, which flower on shoots produced in the previous summer: No regular pruning required. Just clean them up after flowering.
    Group 2 – Large-flowering Clematis, which flower on short shoots developing from the previous year’s growth: Prune in late winter or early spring and after the first flush of flowers in early summer.
    Group 3 – Late-flowering clematis, which flower on growth made in the current year: Prune in late winter or early spring and cut back the stems to a pair of strong buds about 1 ft. (30 cm) above ground level before growth begins in early spring.
  • Regularly deadhead both roses and clematis (except clematis that display ornamental seed heads after flowering).
  • The most common diseases to affect roses are black spot, powdery mildew, and rust, but many disease-resistant roses are available. Clematis are primarily affected by wilt or stem rot. To control this, cut the plant stem below the infected point and destroy it.
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant Type Perennials, Roses
Genus Rosa - Climbing Rose, Rosa - Rambling Rose, Rosa, Clematis
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Rosa (Climbing Roses) Rosa (Rambling Roses) Rosa (Rose) Clematis

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