Clematis are popular vines that belong to the Ranunculaceae family of plants. Clematis are primarily grown to add vertical interest to a garden with their colourful flowers, fascinating seed heads and attractive deciduous or evergreen foliage. Several hundred different species and cultivars are available giving you a tremendous choice of flower type, colour, size and bloom time. They also vary in height, growth habit and some can even be used as groundcovers. Many clematis are lightly scented but masses of blooms can fill the air with a beautiful fragrance.
Site Selection:Fall is the preferred time to plant Clematis in zones 7-8, but they can be planted at anytime as long as the ground is not frozen. They will perform best if planted in an area that receives at least 4+ hours of direct sunlight per day, but will tolerate full sun or part shade if certain instructions are followed. Clematis like to be moderately moist, but will die if grown in areas with standing water. Make sure the soil drains well. Clematis grow best in locations that have a slightly alkaline soil. A PH of 7.0 to 7.5 is ideal. If required, you can amend acidic soils by adding lime.
Planting Instructions:Dig a hole that is 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide. (45 cm x 45 cm)
Add compost or well rotted manure into the bottom of the hole to provide additional nutrients for the plant as it grows. Adding Bone meal is also highly recommended.
Sprinkle topsoil onto the manure to avoid direct contact between a plants roots and any fertilizer.
Water your newly purchased clematis before taking it out of the pot then place it in the hole.
Position the clematis so that at least 6 inches of its stem (15cm) will be below the soil line. This encourages the plant to grow additional stems thereby creating a bushier plant. It also provides insurance in case some stems are lost to pests or disease.
Refill the hole with topsoil and pat it down when complete.
Clematis perform best when its foliage and stems are in the sun, while the roots are moist and shaded. Cover the planting area with 3-4 inches of mulch. Keep mulch at least 8 inches away from the stems to avoid stem rot or a place for pests to hide. Next, plant a small, low growing shrub or place stones, garden art or some other object near the plant to provide shade for the roots.
Place a trellis, netting, bamboo canes, chain link fence, plastic mesh or similar structure near the clematis for it to climb on. The clematis uses modified leaf stems called petioles to twine around these supports. Ensure the supports are less than 3 inch wide so stems can naturally twine around it, otherwise aid the clematis to 'climb' by weaving it through your support.
We also recommend you choose an attractive structure for deciduous clematis varieties as it will become visible in the Fall and Winter after the leaves are shed.