We cannot fail to love clematis. This showy climber produces huge blooms over a long period during the summer months, providing colour and structure to our borders. The clematis is a very versatile climber, growing well in both borders and containers and climbing up obelisks, trellis and pergolas. Here are a few growing tips and a guide to some of the best summer flowering clematis.
Feeding & Pruning
Most clematis are easy to grow. To ensure long and prolific flowering in summer give the plants a weekly feed and regularly remove dead flower heads. Summer flowering clematis will benefit from an annual prune. People are often confused as to when to prune clematis, but the rules are easy to follow. If your clematis flowers during May and June, trim the plant at the end of June, then cut back to strong buds in February/March. If your clematis flowers in late summer they need to be pruned in late winter, just as the buds are starting to emerge. Cut back all stems to around 30cm off the ground. When buying clematis make sure you choose plants in a 2-3 litre pot which should ensure the plant is at least a couple of years old and will have established a fairly good root system.
There are many lovely summer flowering clematis to choose from. Clematis ‘Fond Memories’ has large white flowers tinged with mauve. It grows to a height of 2.5m and flowers from July to October. Clematis ‘Fleuri’ has gorgeous deep magenta flowers with a central stripe that is slightly redder. Only reaching 120cm, this clematis is ideal for growing in a pot. It flowers from May to October. Clematis ‘Princess Diana’ has an understated beauty with its vibrant pink long slim petals which stand out among the bright green foliage. It flowers between June and September and grows up to 3m.
Clematis ‘Zara’ is a relatively new variety with large pale violet coloured petals and a yellow centre. It flowers from June to September and will be happy on a wall facing any aspect. ‘Alba Plena’ is a real stunner with double green/white flowers from June to October. This variety prefers a sunny position and is quite happy grown in a container. Clematis ‘Picardy’ is also happy in outdoor planters. Its dark purple flowers are quite small but very prolific. If you do choose to grow clematis in outdoor planters make sure you buy a large deep container. Your plant will also need to be repotted every two years. Also remember to mulch the surface well with well rotted manure to protect the roots from the hot sun.
Source: Jo Poultney