Wednesday, July 18, 2018

16 Aug

Beautiful Clematis – An Article by Christine Walkden!

I am always surprised not to see more Clematis in people’s gardens as they are such good plants, have a long flowering season and can be grown in many different situations.

Just think about it,  they can be grown in the open garden up obelisks – Clematis ’The President’, tripods and fences – Clematis ‘Malaya Garnet’, used to cover walls – Clematis’ Sylvia Denny’ or as ground cover or used to stabilize banks and can look fantastic cascading down through trees – Clematis Jackmannii looks great growing in this manner.

I even have them growing through shrubs in the garden – Clematis ‘Multi Blue’ and have several growing in containers on my patio – Clematis ‘Solidarnosc’, they can be pinched back and look fantastic growing in a hanging basket or even a window box. Pinching back is a technique that is more often seen and used in Europe than in the UK, but I have to say when Clematis ‘The President’ is grown into a ball to cover a hanging basket it looks out of this world.

When grown in containers make sure you use a large enough one. The plants supplied are in 7cm pots so pot them on gradually moving a couple of pots sizes up each time you pot them on. Wait until you see roots growing out of the drainage holes in the pots they are growing in before moving them on. I prefer to grow mine in 50/50 John Innes No 2 and multipurpose compost, filling up to a third of the container size with crocks or other drainage material as Clematis do not like sitting in wet soil over the winter, and this quantity of drainage material will help draw the moisture through the pot. Clematis ‘Solidarnosc’ with its rich velvet red flowers only growing up to 150cm is a great plant for growing in containers, flowering from May through to September.

You can train it up a tripod or obelisk to add height on a patio or why not try a row of them to mark the edge of a wide path. Repetition is one of the principals of design and can be used to draw people along a path or to direct them around a garden. If the pots are placed close together they can even be used as a screen. To ensure they flower well both in the open ground and when growing in containers either use a slow release fertilizer at planting or do as I do and feed them weekly from late April though to July with tomato fertilizer. Clematis have a high requirement for potash and tomato fertilizer will supply this. You may have had the experience of Clematis flowers opening green instead of the colour you are supposed to have. This is often due to potash shortage. Keep your plant well feed and in a sunny spot with their roots in the shade and mulch well and they will provide you with years of interest.


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