Tuesday 14 August 2012

Plant of the week

Clematis integrifolia and other herbaceous clematis

Clematis integrifolia
Another unnamed 
cultivar of C. integrifolia

I am notoriously bad at remembering plant variety names, so imagine my delight at finding a label firmly attached to the base of this plant. I checked it out on Google and the name was completely wrong! There is a moral here! I will limit myself to saying that there are many nice varieties of this species of herbaceous clematis!

‘Herbaceous’ means non-woody, and all such plants die to the ground each autumn. It’s a moot point whether this qualifies them for the herbaceous border as they tend to scramble and need support. Some gardeners prefer to let them tumble over a wall or use them as ground cover.

Obelisks are an ideal method of support. Those at garden centres are sometimes very good. We are fortunate that our local blacksmith is both cheaper and better. Clematis can still be a bit unruly and might need tucking in. If you are very clever, order your obelisk to exactly fit the height of your plant, it looks so much nicer.

Another herbaceous clematis, C.hendersonii, easily grows six foot and more each year and is too tall for the herbaceous border. It is one of my favorites. In Bolton Percy churchyard, this clematis has been clambering up into a tamarisk for thirty years. The pruning is so easy, just cut to the ground each year and, if you forget, it will just climb up the dead stems!

Propagators among you will be wondering whether the usual clean chop with a sharp spade can be used to divide a piece from a strong clump of herbaceous clematis. Yes it can.

An interesting article about herbaceous clematis.


  1. I tried posting but since I wasn't logged in to Google I lost everything I typed. :)

    I love the Clematis but find it funny that the big box home improvement center where I live sells this plant with a small 1.5 foot tall trellis attached to the 1gallon pot. The plant quickly outgrows this laughable excuse for a support system unless you prune it back almost every day. Of course pruning the plant back this much will cost you some flowers.

    Check out my blog and if you like it we can exchange links. I have enjoyed going back through your archive of posts and would like to share your site with my visitors. Check me out at http://www.thehomevegetablegardener.com or on Google+/Facebook.

    1. Thanks for this Chris. I like your blog and will get a link up as soon as I can. Thanks for putting mine on yours already!

  2. I like clemati (I did Latin at school!) but I get confused as to which to prune back in the Autumn and which not. Does it matter?
    I built a large pergola 2 years ago and planted a white Montana. It flowers very early so I today planted a purple (name unknown0 one a foot from it and I will train it up and over the pergola to mix in with the white one. It flowers much later so it will hopefully extend the flower season!

    1. My son did latin too but he is not a gardener and I suppose in Roman times, if they had clematis, it would be called quite something else!
      To be serious, the type of clematis in my blog can be cut down autumn ,winter or early spring. The usual dilemma for climbing clematis is whether to cut down to the ground in spring or to prune after flowering.I cut an overgrown Clematis alpina down to the ground in July with a view to writing a blog about it. ( I took a picture). It is sprouting now. The worse that can happen is that I will lose next years flowers!

    2. Usually, if you cut it back by two thirds rather than right down to the ground, it will always flower again the next year.

  3. Thanks anon. That is an excellent way to hedge your bets. Best that the third you cut away is old growth and growth out of place.
    Another general principle is to prune spring and early summer flowerers immediately after flowering, and those that flower in Autumn, hard or moderately hard back in Spring.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...