From bold blooms the size of tea plates to delicate nodding bells adorning a garden arch, clematis are versatile and colourful climbers that no garden should be without. Whether left to clamber-up a trellis panel to cover walls and fences or trained over a pergola, clematis are a wonderfully diverse family with varieties to choose for flowers in every season of the year.
Large-flowered hybrids are some of the most impressive, coming into their own during the summer months, and these are joined by daintier flowering varieties of clematis viticella that continue blooming into autumn
Dozens of clematis varieties are available, with new ones being introduced every year, so visit local garden centres and nurseries to pick the ones that appeal. Colours and forms vary widely, with something to suit every colour scheme. Most enjoy their heads in the sun, but some, like pure white ‘Alabast’, will also grow in semi-shade.
Don’t feel obliged to provide a structure or trellis for support as many clematis can simply be planted in amongst shrubs and left to grow up through them for support. Some of the best suited for this are varieties of Clematis viticella, like rich-red ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ whose summer flowers are followed by fluffy seed-heads.
Not all clematis are climbers, so look out for shorter non-climbing and herbaceous varieties for your borders, like dainty blue ‘Arabella’ and Clematis x durandii, all perfect for bright, sunny sites.
Or why not grow clematis in large pots to create a focal point on your patio.
Choose compact varieties to grow in containers, trained up an ornamental obelisk or wigwam of canes or hazel poles. Several new dwarf and compact varieties have been introduced in recent years too, ideal for planting in tall pots and left to trail over the edges.
Clematis are often partnered with climbing roses and honeysuckle up pillars and pergolas to create long-lasting flower displays, but vibrant combinations can be created with virtually any other climbers or wall shrubs.
It’s not hard to see why clematis have such irresistible charm, and with so many inspiring ways to include them within the garden and patio your colourful clematis collection is guaranteed to grow!
TOP CLEMATIS FOR SUMMER COLOUR
You’ll be spoilt from choice when shopping for clematis, so take your time to search through varieties in shades of pinks, reds, purples, lilacs, blues, creams, whites and more. Some have striped or patterned petals too in a variety of sizes, shapes and forms. Here are just a few of the most popular varieties to consider:
‘Madame Julia Correvon’
TOP TIPS ON GROWING CLEMATIS
- Clematis like their heads in the sun and feet in the shade. Plant so that the soil around the roots is shaded to keep it cool, training shoots up into a brighter, lighter space above.
- Always plant summer-flowering clematis deeper than they were growing in their pots. Dig a deep hole so the top of the rootball sits about 7-10cm below the soil surface, and bury the base of the stems with soil. This can help plants regrow if they ever suffer from clematis wilt disease.
- Spread a deep mulch of compost or bark over the soil after planting to lock in moisture and protect from the sun to keep roots cool.
- All clematis belong to one of three pruning groups depending on when they flower. Talk to the experts at your local garden centre to find out which pruning group your clematis belongs to and get advice on exactly when and how to prune. Alternatively check on line for advice at www.rhs.org.uk.
OTHER POPULAR CLEMATIS TO LOOK OUT FOR
- ‘Comtess de Bouchaud’
- ‘Elsa Spath’
- ‘Guernsey Cream’
- ‘Miss Bateman’
- ‘Mrs Cholmondeley’
- ‘Nelly Moser’
- ‘Perle d’Azure’
- ‘Polish Spirit’
- ‘Prince Charles’
- ‘The President’
- ‘Warszaska Nike’
COLOURFUL CLEMATIS COMBINATIONS
Clematis are very adaptable plants, and climbing varieties can be trained up alongside a host of other climbers and wall shrubs. Shrubs and small trees can also offer support for summer flowering clematis, and some varieties can even grow up through hedges. Herbaceous or non-climbing clematis can be planted among border plants to grow alongside them to produce exciting combinations.
- Golden Hop (Humulus lupulus ‘Aureus’
- Golden Jasmine (Jasminum officinalis ‘Aureum’)
- Solanum crispum ‘Glasnevin’
SHRUBS THAT OFFER SUPPORT:
- Conifers including yew and junipers
- Holly (Ilex varieties)
- Japanese maples