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, Clematis include more than 300 species, hundreds of hybrids and are divided into 12 main groups, each with consistent flower size, blooming season, pruning and garden use characteristics.
The Late Large-Flowered clematis group derives mostly from three Asian species: Clematis patens, Clematis florida and Clematis lanuginosa.
- 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.
- These clematis can reach up to 6-12 ft. (2-3.5 m).
- 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.
- These clematis are usually full sun or partial shade tolerant. 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. Afternoon shade is appreciated in hot summer areas.
- These clematis are quite versatile. They can be trained over trellises, arbors, pergolas, arches or fences. They can grow through shrubs, climbing roses and into small trees. They can be grown in large containers too.
- The foliage of some of these clematis is susceptible to powdery mildew.
- These clematis belongs to the third group of Clematis. They should be pruned in late winter or early spring and require 'hard pruning': simply cut back the stems to a pair of strong buds about 1ft. (30 cm) above ground level before growth begins in early spring.