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Botanist's Lens: Clematis, Queen of the Vines

With her feet in the shade and tops in the sun, Clematis makes for a thriving queen for seasons to come.

pink-purple clematis

The flowers actually lack true petals. The stunning display is done by the 'tepals' (modified sepals) that come in variety of colors. Purple-blue being the most common, Clematis jackmanii. Clematis belongs to the Ranunculaceae family and there are over 250 species and over 500 varieties in the trade.

White clematis

When and How to Plant Clematis "The best time to plant clematis is early spring. However, containerized plants can be planted throughout the growing season. They should be planted where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight a day, east and south exposures are ideal. The crown should be planted an inch below the soil surface to encourage multiple shoots and provide winter protection. If roots are crowded, straighten them out before planting. The planting site should be well drained yet have good water holding capacity”. Source

Purple clematis

Where to Plant Clematis The planting location is the key for Clematis. Even though the plants prefer at least 6 hrs of full sun, their roots prefer a cool soil. This can be done by planting in partly shaded areas. Even mulch, low-growing plants or ground covers could provide shade for the heat-sensitive Clematis roots. Sedums, Spiderwort, and Daylilies are some good examples for perennial plants near the base.

Feet in the shade and tops in the sun, always makes for a thriving Clematis. Once established well, the 'queen of the vines' will rule in full glory for many years. If you crave for the fragrance vs the flower size, try the native fragrant vines.


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