Julie’s Clematis Picks

Credit: Stuart McCall

A couple of maxims immediately spring to mind when the subject turns to clematis; the first, “head in the sun, feet in the shade,” is key to success. Clematis like their roots cool and shaded.

“First year – sleep, second year – creep, third year – leap,” is fun to say but a constant frustration to the impatient. Julie’s advice? “Just forget about clematis until the third year and then they’ll knock your socks off!”

When planting, amend the soil with steer manure, and avoid overly wet or sandy locations. Lastly, fertilize at the end of April or beginning of June and occasionally boost with manure in autumn. For container-dwelling clematis, feed weekly. Here are Julie’s top picks: (Plants are hardy to the zone number indicated)

C. ‘Asao’ – “the best shell-pink coloured clematis in the hybrids – so floriferous!” – zone 4

C. campaniflora – “charming little pearly white bells, blooms August to October, dainty flowers but big plant” – zone 4

C. x diversifolia ‘Blue Boy’ – “such great blue flowers that last for four months, even longer if you deadhead. Mine wanders through a perennial bed of Delphinium cashmerianum and Salvia patens, lasting well into September” (herbaceous perennial) – zone 4

C. x durandii – “one of the best real blues. Always a winner through a pink shrub rose. Easy to make happy” (scrambler) – zone 6

C. ‘Huldine’ – “lovely white flowers 7.5 cm (3 in.) across, easy, so floriferous and the best ‘underside’ of any clematis. View it from below” – zone 4

C. ‘Olgae’ – “a melancholic steely blue; gorgeous winding its way through the blue corydalis. A bit fragrant, very long flowering” (herbaceous perennial) – zone 3

C. ‘Pagoda’ – “a smaller climber, winsome curved flowers that seem to come all summer long” – zone 4

C. ‘Polish Spirit’ – “the longest-flowering clematis I know, a great velvety deep purple. I have mine through Lonicera periclymenum ‘Graham Thomas’ – makes me smile every time I see it” – zone 5

C. ‘Prince Charles’ – “the most elegant of clematis I know, gorgeous blue, on the smaller side for the C group so it is easy to place” – zone 4

C. recta ‘Purpurea’ – “great deep purple foliage and soft froth of flowers. I especially like it when the foliage is just 38 cm (15 in.) high. I cut mine to the ground July first and get a new crop of leaves (herbaceous perennial) – zone 3

C. ‘Roogochi’ – “great artsy waxy-blue flowers, upside hourglasses, very floriferous. A bit prone to mildew but worth it” – zone 4

C. texensis ‘Princess Diana’ – “such a classy rich pink in a gorgeous shape” – zone 4

C. ‘Zoin’ inspirationPBR – “such a great pink, cheerful and true; try it through a dark-green-leaved shrub. Easy!” – zone 5