Plant Family Guides: Clematis
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. Members of the Ranunculaceae family, Clematis include more than 300 species and hundreds of hybrids. They are divided into 12 groups.
Their flowers are impressively large, 5-8 in. across (13-20 cm). Star-shaped, they may be single, semi-double or double and are available in a wide range of colors. They usually bloom in two waves. They bloom between early and mid summer on new wood. They often repeat flowering in late summer and early fall.
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.
Their flowers are incredibly large, 6-10 in. across (15-25 cm). Star-shaped, they may be single, semi-double or double and are available in a wide range of colors. They usually bloom in two waves. They bloom in late spring or early summer on the previous year's growth. They often repeat blooming in late summer and early fall on new wood.
Healthy, sturdy, easy to please, the Montana group of clematis includes the most vigorous deciduous climbers within the clematis family. Their flowers are not as large or flashy as those of the large-flowered Clematis varieties, but they are full of charm, fragrant and so abundant!
The small-flowered Orientalis group contains the truly yellow clematis. Their bright yellow flowers are lantern- or star-shaped and often nodding. Each flower produces showy pom-pom like seedheads with silvery silken tails that persist and disperse over the winter and early spring months.
Combining late flowering Clematis with your roses would have the benefit of extending the season of interest of your roses. Blooming after the roses, the Clematis would use the roses as a support and their elegant blooms would stand out against the foliage of the roses.
Many clematis make terrific container plants, especially if trained up an obelisk or a small trellis. There are so many clematis varieties that finding the best one for your needs might be a daunting task. To assist you in selecting the right plant, here is a list of great clematis vines for your containers.
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.
Combining early flowering Clematis with your roses would have the benefit of advancing the season of interest of your roses. Blooming before the roses, the Clematis would use the roses as a support and their elegant blooms would stand out against the foliage of the roses.
Climbing roses and clematis are perfect companions. 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.