Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

The clematis is a special kind of climbing plant. Here you can find out everything you need to know about the beautiful clematis.

With its exotic appearance, the clematis is more popular than ever and is not missing in very few gardens. Whether in the bucket or outdoors – the clematis is one of the most popular ornamental plants and thrives very well with the right care. The buttercup family ( Ranunculaceae ) is widespread worldwide, many species also occur in the temperate latitudes and therefore grow very well in Germany. We present everything you need to know about clematis, which is also known as clematis: from buying to planting to proper care.

Clematis: a short profile

Clematis is a genus of plants that includes around 300 species and is characterized by its climbing habit. With heights of up to 12 meters, they are popular as cladding for facades and fences and are valued above all for their striking flowers. Depending on the variety and type, these can be pink, purple, and blue in addition to the classic white.

When does clematis actually bloom?

The genus Clematis includes many species that present their blossoms at different times. This is beneficial if you want to enjoy blooming all summer. While some species come up with their flowers in spring, other specimens do not bloom until summer or even into autumn.

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

You can enjoy the beautiful flowers at different times, depending on the species

Is Clematis Poisonous?

As beautiful as the clematis is, the climbing plant should always be handled with care. The reason for this is the substance protoanemonin, which causes irritation and inflammation on contact with the skin. The prerequisite for this, however, is contact with the plant sap, which emerges, for example, when the clematis is cut. Always wear gloves when handling the plant and keep children and pets away from the plant. If parts of the plant are eaten or swallowed, a (veterinary) doctor should be contacted.

Buying clematis: recognizing a healthy and vital plant

Before you can start planting the magnificent flowering plant, you must first buy the clematis. During the summer months, you will find a suitable specimen for your needs in every garden center or every nursery. When buying, always pay attention to the following criteria:

  • Type and variety: Decisive for the color and appearance of the flower; Flowering time varies depending on the species.
  • Condition of the plant: Be sure to buy only healthy seedlings; check the clematis for diseases and pests; these can also hide in the ground.
  • Time: The ideal time to buy a clematis is from spring to early summer; the plant thus has enough time (regardless of whether it is in a bucket or outdoors) to adapt to the new location.

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

When buying, look for healthy and vital plants

Clematis: the most beautiful types and varieties

The variety of clematis species and varieties is huge, so choosing for your own garden can be difficult. For orientation we give a short overview of the most beautiful clematis variations:

Early flowering species:

  • Clematis Montana: Very popular type of clematis, also called mountain clematis; originally from the mountain regions of Asia; early flowering species. Popular varieties: Rubens (pink) and Superba (white).
  • Clematis Alpina: Alpine clematis; native to Europe; often blue flowers with pointed petals; early flowering species. Popular variety: Ruby (purple-violet).
  • Clematis armandii: Asian species with white to pink flowers; early flowering. Popular variety: Appleblossom (white).
  • Clematis integrifolia: whole-leaf clematis; native to Eurasia; predominantly blue-flowered clematis species; partly bell-shaped flowers; early flowering. Popular varieties: Juuli (blue) and Arabella (blue).

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

The clematis Montana is also called the mountain clematis.

Mid to late flowering species:

  • Clematis viticella: Also called the Italian clematis; often red-purple flowers; relatively hardy; late-flowering species (summer to autumn). Popular varieties: Etoile Violette (dark purple), Polish Spirit (dark purple), Rubra (dark red).
  • Clematis vitalba: common clematis; native species; white and fine flowers; hardy; medium to late flowering species.
  • Clematis Florida: Despite the name, native to China; partly multicolored flower; late flowering. Popular variety: Bicolor (white with a purple center).
  • Hybrids: Particularly popular varieties such as Jackmanii (blue-purple, late-blooming), Piilu (pink-purple, early-blooming), Hagley Hybrid (pink, late-blooming), Dr. Ruppel (pink-marbled, early blooming), Rouge Cardinal (purple-red, late-blooming).

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

The Clematis viticella is also known as the Italian clematis.

Planting clematis: location and procedure

With the right technology, the clematis can be grown by itself. But before you can look forward to the expansive display of flowers, you must first find a suitable location where the plant can grow. We show what you have to pay attention to and how you should proceed when planting.

The right location for clematis

The clematis is a plant that needs light and is in good hands in a sunny location. A partially shaded location is also suitable for the beautiful flowering plant, as long as it does not disappear completely in the shade. An important point in the right lighting conditions is the foot of the clematis, which should be protected from direct sunlight. For this purpose, bark mulch should be laid out generously around the plant. In addition to the light intensity, make sure that the clematis has optimal soil conditions. Ideally, the soil is permeable and humus, while heavy clay soils should be avoided due to the formation of waterlogging.

Select the following location for the clematis:

  • Full sun to partial shade
  • Shade at the foot of the plant, otherwise bark mulch
  • Well-drained and humus soil

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

Place the clematis so that the lower part of the trunk is in the ground.

Once the location has been chosen, it’s time to plant. However, some special things must be observed when planting the clematis. To do this, proceed as follows:

  1. Dig a planting hole with a depth and width of about half a meter.
  2. Line the bottom of the planting hole with a drainage layer made of gravel and potsherds. These ensure good water drainage and prevent waterlogging.
  3. Insert the clematis so that the first part of the trunk is buried with it. The plant can thus develop further roots.
  4. After planting, water vigorously and ideally provides a climbing aid.

Propagating clematis: This is how you can propagate clematis yourself

Anyone who has ever had a lush clematis flower in their own garden will also be happy to buy a second or third plant. A much cheaper method than buying, on the other hand, is to multiply the clematis using various methods. Clematis can be propagated quickly and easily in the following ways:

  • Cuttings:
    A very simple method that requires few funds. In summer, cut a branch about 15 cm long from the clematis and remove the leaves at the bottom. Then plant the cutting in potting soil so that most of the shoot is underground. Cover the pot with foil to keep the temperature and humidity consistently high. Within a few weeks, the cutting should develop new roots and you can repot your new clematis.

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

In summer, cut a branch from the clematis about 15 cm long and remove the leaves at the lower end

  • Lowering device:
    As an alternative to the propagation of cuttings, a clematis can also be created by so-called lowers. To do this, carefully bend a branch close to the ground towards the earth and fix it there. Defoliate the branch where it is lying on it and cut it lightly with a knife. Covered with a little soil, new roots are formed at this point and the new clematis plant can be separated from the mother plant.

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Maintain clematis: water, fertilize and cut

Clematis are generally valued as relatively easy-care companions who thrive without much effort. However, some instructions for care must also be observed with the beautiful climbing plant.

Watering clematis properly

Watering clematis is not rocket science and takes little time. Take care of the plant as needed, it is only important that the soil never dries out completely. On the other hand, you should always make sure that no waterlogging occurs through excessive watering. Basically, the climbing plant is quite frugal outdoors, but in the pot, you should check the substrate more often.

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

Take care of the plant as needed and avoid waterlogging

Clematis fertilization: Appropriate fertilizer and procedure

The clematis can also be classified as an undemanding plant in terms of nutrient requirements and the amount of fertilization required is limited. The supply of sufficient phosphate, which can be made available via compost, is particularly important for the long-lasting power of the flower. Work generously into the soil with compost every year to provide long-lasting nutrients.

In addition to this organic fertilization, it makes sense to apply a small amount of lime every two years. As an alternative to compost, you can also use primarily organic fertilizer for the clematis. Our Gardender organic flower fertilizer contains all the important nutrients and also strengthens healthy and active soil life. Further information on fertilizing the clematis can be found in our special article.

When and how to cut clematis?

For abundant flowering and healthy growth, pruning the clematis is an effective method that should be repeated every year. The cut is usually based on the time of flowering of the respective clematis species and variety and must be made individually. The following applies: Early blooming specimens should always be cut directly after flowering. These include species such as Clematis Montana, Clematis Alpina, or Clematis armandii. In the case of hybrids that bloom twice, it is particularly important to cut the blooms so that another bloom can occur in the course of the summer. In addition to this pruning, however, pruning in autumn is common for all clematis. To do this, cut all shoots down to a length of 20 to 30 cm.

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Hibernating clematis: is the clematis hardy?

With its exotic appearance, many hobby gardeners rightly ask themselves: is the clematis hardy or does it have to be dug up every year? These questions can only be answered individually for each species, as the different clematis come from different regions of the world.

Planting Clematis In The Garden: Tips From The Pro

As soon as the clematis have bloomed towards winter, you can see the seed heads

The following types of clematis can easily be overwintered outside and, apart from the early days, sometimes do not even need additional winter protection:

  • Clematis alpina
  • Clematis vitalba
  • Clematis viticella
  • Clematis integrifolia

However, winter protection should be provided for all species, especially in the first year, even if they are usually hardy. It is best to cover the plant with straw and leaves and use an air-permeable garden fleece. Clematis species that are not hardy should ideally be cultivated in pots in this country or properly protected from frost in winter.

An overview of hardy and special clematis species and varieties can be found in this article.

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