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Clematis Varieties

The Many Clematis Varieties Offer A Wide Choice

The number of different clematis varieties is quite impressive. There are over 200 different species, plus a fair large number of hybrids that have been cultivated over the years. Most clematis varieties are deciduous but there are a few evergreen types. There are also a few varieties that are grown as shrubs, but the vast majority are grown as vines on trellises or latticework.

Clematis are generally easy to grow and can be grown in most areas of the country. A few varieties can be quite invasive and hard to get rid of once established, but most grow where they are supposed to and nowhere else. Almost all varieties have attractive flowers, and the seed pods that appear following the blooming period are sometimes used in dried flower arrangements.

Care And Pruning - When you grow clematis think "warm head - cool feet" and you've mastered much of what is needed to successfully grow this plant. The clematis requires full sun, but the roots must be kept out of direct sunlight, and kept relatively cool as they are near the surface, in fact often just above the surface at the base of the plant. The best way to protect the roots is to place a few flat rocks about the base of the plant, being careful not to disturb the stem. Pruning the plant is only a challenge in that one needs to know if the plant is a spring blooming or summer blooming variety. If it's an early spring blooming variety, the blooms will appear on old wood, so the plant should not be pruned back too far. If you have a summer or late summer blooming plant, it can be pruned back to the ground in late fall. If pruned during the summer when the vines are growing fastest, the plant is quite forgiving if you make a mistake, as new stems will quickly reappear. Some summer pruning may be needed to prevent too much tangling, and new branches constantly need to be attached to a supporting structure. A combination of plastic tape and small cup hooks are usually all that is needed.

Some Popular Varieties - Of the many clematis varieties, jackmanii is one of the more popular. Easy to grow, with ample foliage and usually a heavy bloomer, the jackmanii is known for its rich deep purple flowers which bloom throughout June and July.  The jackmanii is actually a series of hybrids with some of the later ones having larger than usual blooms. Montana, also called the Anemone clematis is one of the hardiest and easiest to grow clematis varieties. The blossoms are white, eventually turning pink. If yellow is your choice of color, consider the Clematis tangutica, the Golden Clematis. Its golden nodding blossoms are extremely attractive. This variety however is one of the more invasive types, so one needs to be a little careful where it is to be planted.

Other favorite clematis varieties include the pink with red stripe 'Nelly Moser", and an extremely popular variety,  and the Henryi. The Henryi is one of the large-flowered hybrids, and features pure white blossoms that can approach 6" or more in width. The Henryi can be especially spectacular on a trellis, but is quite a showpiece where ever it is planted.

Summary - Your local nursery may not have all 200-plus clematis varieties in stock, but will probably have a nice selection to choose from. Because of the wide range in which most of these varieties will grow, it's generally safe to order a plant over the Internet or by mail order, knowing that what you select will likely do well in your location.  Recommendations? Nelly Moser and Henryi.



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