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 Herbaceous Clematis group contains wonderful herbaceous perennials for the border, which clamber over other plants. They die to the ground at the end of each year, and have no twining petioles to help them climb. This Clematis group encompasses several species, including the decorative Clematis integrifolia, Clematis recta, and some woodier non-climbers such as Clematis stans and Clematis heracleifolia. Among the easiest Clematis to grow, Herbaceous Clematis are long-lived.
- Their flowers are small, nodding, bell-shaped with recurved and often twisted colored outer sepals surrounding creamy-white stamens. They are available in shades of mauve blue to dark blue, sometimes with crimson-flushed buds, but white and a number of pink selections are available. The flowers give way to very ornamental, fluffy, silky seedheads, which remain on the plant, adding further interest.
- They bloom profusely over a long season, from early summer to early fall, with the bonus of attractive foliage. If deadheaded after their first flush of blooms, they will bloom again within 30-45 days. Depending on your geographic area, you may enjoy 2 or 3 waves of colorful blooms.
- Most Herbaceous Clematis require at least 6 hours of sun per day and do not tolerate sandy soil.
- Herbaceous Clematis are impervious to clematis wilt.
- These clematis can reach up to 12-24 in. in height (30-60 cm).
- Herbaceous Clematis are ideal for growing through plants in the herbaceous border. Blooming late in the season, their richly colored flowers distract your eye from the faded blooms of roses and other perennials that they gracefully adorn.
- Since they bloom on the current year's shoots, they belong to the pruning group 3. They should be pruned in late winter or early spring and require 'hard pruning'. Simply cut down to the ground once the plant has gone dormant