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Late-flowering clematis

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zhang00 View Drop Down
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Joined: 24 Nov 2010
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  Quote zhang00 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Late-flowering clematis
    Posted: 07 Dec 2010 at 7:38am

There are few plants that give me as much pleasure or colour for so little work as late-flowering clematis. Given their willingness to grow in sun or shade and to scramble up any kind of support, there's no garden that can't accommodate at least one or two.

Clematis 'Madame Julia Correvon'" src="http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/features/late-flowering-clematis/001/img.jpg" width=140 height=100>

Clematis produce their display on the current season's growth. That's why it's common to see these plants flowering perfectly happily halfway up someone's house, but completely flowerless at or near eye-level.

    Pruning late-flowering clematis

    In order to keep the flowers where you can enjoy them, it's necessary to prune them back each winter. I do mine at the same time as I prune buddleias and roses, somewhere between mid-February and mid-March.

      Clematis 'Etoile Violette'" src="http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/features/late-flowering-clematis/003/img.jpg" width=140 height=100>

      Cut them back to about 30cm from the ground, leaving two sets of healthy buds. Prune, and prune hard. It will mean removing a great mass of foliage, but nothing is lost, as none of it will produce a single flower the following summer.

        Planting choices

        Late-flowering clematis are ideal in a border, either trained up a wigwam made of bean sticks or growing through an earlier-flowering shrub, such as weigela or lilac. An annual prune means they'll never overpower their less-robust companions. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, and all are tough and easy to grow, which means your choices can be based on colour and form as much as anything else.

          War on wilt

          Clematis flammula" src="http://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/features/late-flowering-clematis/005/img.jpg" width=140 height=100>

          Wilt is a disease that can reduce a perfectly healthy specimen to brown tatters in less than 48 hours. Affecting only large-flowered varieties, it attacks the plant just above soil level, often at a point where it's been damaged. It causes stems to turn black and collapse, which then need to be cut right back to ground level.

            If you replant the clematis with 5cm - 8cm of the stem below soil level, it should re-grow. If the same plant is hit by wilt every year, cut it back and move it to another site, replacing it with a C. viticella variety.

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