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Clematis Alpina

Mountain Landscapes Made Easy: Clematis Alpina

The clematis alpina grows in a shrub-like manner and can climb up a wall which is one of the reasons why it is so popular. For a good result, you must provide strong support so that the plant can expand and grow.

Clematis alpina can be planted either indoors our outdoors, but it is important to know that it cannot withstand large fluctuations in temperature. It is vital to keep the soil damp, and if it is planted in a pot you may have to water a little more often than in the garden because the inside of the house can become very dry due to heating and air conditioning. Even if you choose the clematis alpina to be an indoor plant, you must provide some sort of support which enables it to grow properly, expand and climb. Thus, you need a large pot or container, and a good way of support is a strong wooden pole and some wire to lead the growth up. Artistic gardeners choose very thick and strong wire to form shapes such as a heart or a circle, and direct the clematis alpina to grow along this wire. If you can achieve this, you will have created a real decorative gardening masterpiece!

Outdoors is a little different and you do not need to water as much. The clematis alpina can stay outdoors all year round as it endures cold winters. A layer of mulch can really help though, it will keep the roots protected from the cold and will be able to bloom in the summer. As for location, pick a semi-shady spot which exposes the clematis alpina to the sun only at the coolest day time (either early in the morning or in the evening). The plant cannot endure full sun.

Just like you would imagine an alpine flower to be, the clematis alpina is beautifully purple with bright green leaves.  The flowers grow in a bell shape and truly remind of the first little sprouts when the snow has just melted away. The plant does not require a lot of care, but some fertilizer every now and then can significantly improve the growth and strength. That is particularly useful if you want to control the growth and let it climb along a wall or arch.

It certainly takes a few years to fully cover and arch or a fence, but the clematis alpina has a long life expectance (around 15 years or more) and can therefore slowly wrap itself around a pavilion or pergola.

It is useful to trim the flowers once blooming season is over to enable new and fresh sprouts to grow. This will also ensure that the plant will last many years by renewing and recovering every season. If you are an experienced gardener or gardening hobbyist, there is not much you can do wrong. They should be trimmed in the same way any other climbing plant is trimmed, and it should happen every year. Do not be discouraged if you notice a very slow growth – the clematis alpina is known to be a slow grower, but at least it is long-lasting and worth your efforts in the long run.

Also very good to know: The plant is poisonous. While there is a new trend of using flowers in the kitchen and in salads, this one cannot be eaten or used in cooking. But you can certainly use it for decoration and around the house. Their blue-purple blossoms are simply striking and beautiful to look at, especially if you enjoy the Swiss Cottage kind of atmosphere and cozy winter landscapes.



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