top of page

Plant of the Week: Clematis

We love clematis for several reasons, namely, because there are SO many beautiful colors and shapes to choose from! We always struggle to decide which to grow each season and are extra excited for this year’s selection. We altered our growing schedule/techniques, and the plants look extra healthy and lush as a result (clematis can be a bit finicky to start in a greenhouse setting, especially in cooler months). Clematis are most often grown vertically on a trellis or arbor, but many varieties also do well in pots or sprawling over a wall.


Clematis has a few specific needs that, once met, ensure a healthy, heavily blooming perennial vine year after year. Clematis are said to like having their “heads in the sun and feet in the shade”. Confusing, right?? The key is really maintaining moisture around the roots, as well as preventing hot afternoon sun from fading the blooms.

Choose an area with plenty of morning and midday sun, but some protection from direct sunlight in mid to late afternoon (or if in sun all day, preferably northern or eastern facing). When planting clematis, make sure to dig a large hole (up to 2 feet wide and deep), and amend the soil to improve drainage and give it some extra nutrition (try mixing ½ compost with existing soil and a bit of bark/soil conditioner). Plant the clematis with the crown of the plant 1-2 inches below the edge of the hole, and then fill the top in with mulch (straw and bark are both fine). Watering deeply once a week will help ensure lots of blooms!

Check on which pruning group your clematis is in to know when and how to cut it back for the best blooming results. (Pruning Group 1: prune mid to late spring after flowering has occurred, Pruning Group 2: prune in February and again after the first flush of flowers in early summer, or Pruning Group 3: prune in February.) Don’t panic if you don’t find the time to prune - it just may mean fewer blooms/only one flush for the season.

Below are our 2023 varieties and what makes each one special - good luck picking just one!

BERNADINE - Large icy blue flowers with red anthers last from June through September, an unusually long bloom period. Much more compact, at 3-4’ tall, so a good option for containers/smaller spaces. (Pruning Group 3)

REBECCA - Brilliant red 5-7” flowers with yellow anthers bloom in several flushes between May-August. Semi-compact at 6-8’. (Pruning Group 2)

MISS BATEMAN - 6” white blooms with burgundy anthers emerge earlier, blooming in late spring, and then flower again in early fall. Vigorous, yet semi-compact at 6-8’. (Pruning Group 2)

SUNSET - 4 to 6” burgundy-red flowers with magenta strips and yellow anthers are quite showy, blooming first in May-June and again in September. Semi-compact at 5-9’. (Pruning Group 2)

NELLY MOSER - Giant blooms (up to 8”) are pale pink with candy pink striping and reddish sepals (and per this photo, can vary quite a bit based on sun exposure, bloom age, etc). A favorite since it was introduced in 1897, with profuse blooms in May-June and again in September. Larger vine at 8-10’. (Pruning Group 2)

PINK CHAMPAGNE - Masses of giant 6-8” flowers are deep rose with gold sepals, and have slightly cupped petals. Bloom in May-June and again in September. Semi compact at 6-8’. (Pruning Group 2)

JACKMANII SUPERBA - Featuring violet-blue blooms with gold anthers July-September, Jackmanii is a long-time favorite due to its highly dependable performance. Superba has been bred for more profuse and larger blooms (5”) than its parent Jackmanii (c. 1862). Can grow to 12’ long, so a great option for large arbors or trellises. (Pruning Group 3)

MONGOLIAN BELLS (Clematis integrifolia): A bush-type clematis, this variety has a completely different habit of clumping and spreading on the ground. Enjoy profuse lovely bell-like blooms in late spring, and prune back hard for another small flush of blooms later in summer. (Pruning Group 3)

Note: Clematis are toxic to many pets (including horses), so keep your furbabies from munching.

643 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page