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Clematis Macropetala

A Close Look At Clematis Macropetala

As the botanical name seems to imply, Clematis macropetala is characterized by very large petals when in bloom. Being in a select group of clematis plants noted for their exceptionally large flowers isn't the only thing that sets Clematis macropetala apart however. Most clematis plants, and many perennials for that matter, which are regarded as reasonably hardy, don't always do particularly well, if they can grow at all, in the northern regions of Canada, or in Alaska. C. macropetala, with perhaps a little help from heavy mulching, has been known to grow in locations bordering the Arctic Circle. The plant itself is hardy to about -40 degrees centigrade, admittedly almost warm in parts of the interior of Alaska in mid-winter, but with a generous helping of mulch, the roots can survive until spring.

Culture - C. macropetala is a climber, reaching upwards to around 10 feet. The vine requires only minimal support and does not have a tendency to easily fall over as is the case with many clematis plants. The stems are somewhat sparse in foliage, at least not quite as bushy as is the case with many other varieties of clematis, so this variety is best grown on lattice work or among shrubbery where the flowers are still very visible, but the vine itself is partially hidden. This is of course a matter of personal taste and choice, and how one chooses to display the plant is often partly determined by the cultivar, and color of bloom that is chosen. "Rosy O'Grady" for example has a rosy purple bloom, while "Floralia" is rather pale blue. Markam's Pink, one of the more popular and readily available cultivars, has glowing pink flowers, while Jan Lindmark is a noted bi-color, whose blossoms are white in the middle with violet to purple sepals.

Protect The Roots - This clematis variety usually blooms fairly early in the spring and in some locations may even yield a second bloom later in the year. It can be grown in the sun or shade, though not in deep shade. If grown in direct sun, the roots should be protected from the sun and kept as cool as is practicable. This is usually accomplished by placing several flat rocks carefully around the base of the plant Applying an organic mulch too near the stem may invite insects or disease, especially if the much is kept moist. Flat rocks are a much better choice.

Pests And Disease - As is the case with many varieties of clematis, fungal spots, powdery mildew and aphids are fairly common problems with Clematis macropetala, though generally these conditions are not serious. Avoid spraying the vine when watering unless it will have a chance to dry off completely during the course of the day to avoid fungal and mildew problems. Aphids of course can usually be sprayed off or removed with a soapy water solution. White flies and earwigs are sometimes a problem.

Many Choices Available - The clematis family is notable for the great variety of choices among its various species and cultivars. Though most clematis plants are vines, some of which can grow fairly tall, there are other varieties which tend to take on the shape of a shrub, and still others which fall into the classification of dwarf plants. Some have tiny blossoms, others like Henryi, have dinner-plate sized blossoms. Most clematis plants are well behaved, but there are some varieties that can become invasive to the point of being considered a noxious weed. Some varieties, including C. macropetala, are almost as well known for their showy seed heads as for their blossoms. If your garden does not yet have a clematis in residence, it might be worthwhile to give the purchase of a plant some thought.



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