Clematis is a genus of over 200 species of twining leaf-climbers and woody-based perennials. More than 400 mainly large-flowered cultivars are in cultivation. Clematis are grown for their abundant flowers, often followed by decorative, filamentous, silvery gray seed heads. They are valued for their long flowering period, and for the variety of shape and color of their flowers.

Where to Grow

The clematis prefer hot tops, cool bottoms. This means they thrive best in partial sun with their base at the roots in full shade. Its essential that their roots remain cool and moist, so protect them with heavy mulch, near smaller plants that can shade its base, or with a large flat rock. Make sure to also plant your clematis next to a structure or plant that it can grow up.

How to Plant

Clematis like fertile, humus-rich, well-drained soil. When planting, place the root ball about 3 inches below the soil surface to reduce the risk of clematis wilt and to encourage production of strong shoots from below the soil level. Remember that most clematis need staked, so add one now if required.

Provide the plant with a ground cover plant or a mulch such as shredded leaves, pine needles, straw, bark or even stones to help conserve moisture and to keep the roots cool. Clematis resent root disturbance, so extreme care must be exercised when working around the plant to prevent any root damage. Water well, keeping the soil always moist during the first year after planting.