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Growing Clematis

There are not many flowering vines available to gardeners whose flowers are more spectacular then the clematis. Members of the Ranunculaceae family, most clematis are climbers.  There are two exceptions worth noting they are the species C

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. heracleifolia and C. integrifolia which would look nice in a perennial border.  Most Clematis are hardy, however there are a few that do not like to be subjected to extreme cold.  You can protect these in the winter or plant them close to the foundation for some added insulation.

The flowers of Clematis range from under an inch to 10" across.  Depending on the variety you choose your plant will produce single or double flowers, some both.  The double flowering varieties bloom on old wood, similar to some hydrangea.  You should prune clematis that flower on old wood very carefully.  I prune just after they flower.  If you wait too long then you risk hurting your flower production for the following year.  There are some varieties that dieback to the ground each year, these will bloom on new growth in the summer or fall.  You can clean up the dead vines after a few hard freezes.

Clematis are not too fussy about how much light they receive each day.  They prefer part-sun and some shade especially during the hottest part of the day.  I find mine do particularly well when they get morning sun.

Some clematis get wilt diseases.  You can prune away the diseased part of the plant and many times the plant will revive itself.  However, you may also choose to use a fungicide.

Whatever clematis you choose, they are sure to bring years of pleasure.


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