Clematis - Notes from talk



Includes 48 species mainly herbaceous




Queen of all vines
Klema in greek means “vine branch”
Genus includes in excess of 1000 species
More than 300 species recorded
Over 120 species currently in cultivation
By 1872 more than 200 species recorded




1569 Clematis viticella from Europe introduced to Britain
C. integrifolia, C. cirrhosa, C. flammula from Europe in 1596
C. recta 1597
American species in the early 1700’s
C. orientalis from Asia 1731
Later part of 18c many Chinese introductions




1569 Clematis viticella from Europe introduced to Britain
C. integrifolia, C. cirrhosa, C. flammula from Europe in 1596
C. recta 1597
American species in the early 1700’s
C. orientalis from Asia 1731
Later part of 18c many Chinese introductions


Hybrid Clematis


1835 C. x viticella x C. integrifolia = C. ‘Hendersoni’
1860-1890 Glorious thirty years breeding
1858 George Jackman crossed C. ‘Hendersoni’ with C. lanuinosa = C. ‘Jackmanii’
First recordings of Clematis wilt


Early Clematis Breeders


Jackman’s of Woking 1810
Thomas Crisp & Son Tunbridge Wells
Charles Noble of Sunningdale
Victor Lemoine of Nancy
Francisque Morel of Lyon


20th Century Clematis Breeders


William Robinson & Ernest Markham of Gravetye Manor Sussex
Clematis tangutica ‘Gravetye’
Clematis texensis ‘Gravetye Beauty’
Clematis ‘Huldine’
Robinson published ‘The Virgins Bower’
Markham was head gardener (Percy Picton)
Pennell's of Lincoln 1780 - 48 large clematis20th Century Species


20th Century Species introduced


Clematis armandii
Clematis chrysocroma
Clematis montana var rubens
Clematis rehderiana
Clematis wuxiensis 2016 China


The Clematis Family


Deciduous or Evergreen
Woody, semi-woody or herbaceous
Leaves generally opposite
Petiole or leaf stalk twists or coils for support
Bisexual or unisexual
Tepals not petals
Male stamens, numerous, can be petal like
Pistils long and hairy
Seed-heads often plume like and persistent


Clematis Groups


Small flowered
Early flowered
Late Flowered
Herbaceous and sub shrubs
Other late species


Clematis Naturally


In the wild
According to species
Alpine species
Forest species
In the garden
Copying the wild
No visual supports
Equal vigour of host and clematis

Clematis on Walls and Fences


Suitable but invisible support
Access for maintenance
Some groups will flower in next door gdn
Legal position
Dry zones against walls and under eaves


Clematis on Arches, Pergolas


Suitable support
Colour scheme for all plantings
Access to carry out pruning
Clematis for sun or shade?
Equal vigour to look balanced


Clematis over other plants


As at Burford House Gardens Tenbury Wells many years ago
John Massey’s Garden at Ashwood
Clematis can be grown over small shrubs or conifers
Colour combinations with flowers or foliage


Clematis and Roses


Simultaneous colour display
Extend flowering season
Equal vigour
Pruning methods compatible
Shade for roots of ClematisClematis on Clematis


Clematis on Clematis


Contrasting colours
Different flower shape
Flowering at the same time
Pruned by same method


Herbaceous Clematis


Cut down in autumn
Slug control
Some do not have tendrils
Encase in frame
Useful addition to herbaceous border


Clematis as ground cover


As occurs in the wild, Clematis alpina
Using single species
Strong stemmed


Clematis Rope Hedges


All flower at the same time
All pruned the same method
All to have equal vigour


Winter Flowering Clematis


Some are less hardy
Most dislike cold wet soils
Often slow to establish
Some have good fragrance


Clematis For Shade


 Clematis Alba Luxurians
Clematis ‘Bees Jubilee’
Clematis viticella ‘Minuet’
Clematis ‘Wada’s Primrose’
Clematis macropetala ‘White Satin’
Clematis alpina ‘Willy’
Clematis montana ‘Wilsonii’


Clematis for North Walls


Shady and cool
Can be cold!
Damp or dry
Bright flowers
Ideal for pale clematis


Clematis for full sun


Clematis florida 'Sieboldiana’
Clematis ‘Rebecca’
Clematis texensis 'Gravetye Beauty'
Clematis texensis 'Princess Diana'
Clematis viticella 'Abundance'


Clematis with scent


Clematis armandii 'Snowdrift’
Clematis cirrhosa 'Calycina’
Clematis flammula (Hawthorn)
Clematis heracleifolia 'Cassandra'
Clematis rehderiana (Cowslip)
Clematis serratifolia 'Golden Harvest'
Clematis tangutica 'Lambton Park’ (Coconut)
Clematis terniflora (Sweet Autumn Clematis)
Clematis triternata ‘Rubrifolia’

Clematis as container plants


Must be dwarf
Must be able to withstand patio conditions
Can be used in combination with other plants
Keep pot and roots cool and frost free
Special winter care


Clematis Planting


Problems – base of wall, eaves, reflected heat, competition with other plants
Sufficient root development area
Shade for roots


Clematis Supports


Look natural
Natural materials – other plants
Free standing Ironwork
Away from walls on battens


Pruning Groups


RHS 27 ways
Newly planted all should be pruned except herbaceous types

Three methods Howard’s Way
One - Require no pruning
Two - Flower before 1st of August
Three - Flower after 1st of August


Group One (little or no pruning)


Only require pruning if outgrown their space
This category includes C alpina, C chrysocoma, C macropetala, C montana and the evergreen C cirrhosa and C armandii groups. If you wish to prune these types because they have outgrown their space they should be pruned immediately after flowering. You may or may not lose your plant as a result of over hard pruning. You might want to reduce the plant size over two or three seasons rather than in one go.


Examples of Group One Pruning


Clematis alpina AGM
C. alpina 'Pamela Jackman'
C. armandii
C. × cartmanii 'Avalanche'
C. × cartmanii 'White Abundance'
C. cirrhosa
C. cirrhosa var. balearica
C. cirrhosa 'Freckles’

C. cirrhosa 'Wisley Cream’ AGM


C. 'White Columbine' AGM
C. 'Constance' AGM
C. 'Frances Rivis' AGM
C. macropetala
C. macropetala 'Blue Bird'
C. 'Markham's Pink' AGM
C. montana
C. 'Rosy O'Grady'
C. 'Ruby'

Group Two (Little Pruning)


This category includes the early large-flowered forms, including the double and semi-double cultivars. These plants produce their main flush of flowers in May and early June on stems made in the previous year, so pruning is limited to cutting out dead or weak shoots in February.

After the early flowers have finished, you can prune back some of the flowered shoots to encourage new growth. This is also the time to cut back a plant that has outgrown its position or which has become an unsightly tangle at the top. Again, be careful. Reduce the plant over two or three seasons rather than in one brutal prune.


Examples of Group Two Pruning

C. ‘Barbara Jackman'
C. 'Bees' Jubilee'
C. 'Belle of Woking'
C. 'Beauty of Worcester'
C. 'Burma Star'
C. 'Doctor Ruppel'
C. 'Duchess of ‘Edinburgh'
C. 'Edith'
C.  florida var. sieboldiana
C. 'Jackmanii Alba'

C. 'Jackmanii Rubra'
C. 'Marie Boisselot' AGM
C. 'Matka Teresa'
C. 'Nelly Moser' AGM
C. 'Snow Queen'
C. 'The President' AGM
C. 'Rebecca'
C. 'Royal Velvet'
C. 'William Kennett'

Group Three (Hard Prune)


This category includes the late large-flowered hybrids and the small-flowered viticellas, orientalis and texensis groups. These plants flower on the new season's growth. Prune in February by starting at the bottom of the plant and working your way up the stem to the first pair of plump, healthy buds. Prune the stem above the buds and remove everything above the cut. Treat each stem in a similar way. The plant will be encouraged to make strong new growth and an abundance of flowers.


Examples of Group Three Pruning

C. ‘Abundance' AGM
C. 'Alionushka' AGM
C. 'Étiole Violette' AGM
C. 'Ernest Markham’ AGM
C. 'Duchess of Albany'
C. 'Gravetye Beauty'
C. 'Lady Betty Balfour'
C. 'Polish Spirit' AGM

C. 'Princess Diana' AGM
C. 'Royal Velours' AGM
C. 'Ville de Lyon'
C. 'Sir Trevor Lawrence'
C. × triternata 'Rubromarginata' AGM
C. viticella
C. viticella 'Purpurea Plena Elegans'

Propagation Seed (Sexual)


Sown in autumn and exposed to elements

Cuttings (Asexual)
Twin leaved, late June leave outside

Slow, not often practised





Monkjack Deer
Red Spider Mite
Slugs and Snails
Vine weevil




Fungal Leaf Spotting

Bacterial Black Death of Hellebores

Bacterial Slime flux

Powdery Mildew

Clematis Wilt


Clematis Wilt


95% of cases are not Clematis wilt disease
5% only caused by 3 fungal infections
Phoma clematidina is the most common
Main cause of wilting foliage is YOU
Knuckling caused by slipping on support
Ensure all foliage is properly tied to supports
Cut down
Spray with Fungicide during growing season
Tie in new growths as needed


Breeders, Nurseries and Suppliers


Ashwood Nurseries

Marcus Dancer Plants
Taylor's Clematis Nursery
Thorncroft Clematis Nursery
Thompson and Morgan Clematis List
Walled Garden Nursery (Wilts)
Priors Wood Clematis


© Howard Drury 22/02/2020 (Revised 02/04/2022)

Image is designed and maintained by Darren Hodson © 2022, The Drurys