28 March 2017

Garden Plant of the Month for April: Clematis

Garden Plant of the Month for April: Clematis

Climbing and trailing plants are very popular. Smaller gardens are sometimes short of space, because we want to sit in the sun and enjoy a barbecue. A plant that grows upwards is then the ideal solution, since it only covers a small surface area whilst providing plenty of colour. Clematis - the best-known climber amongst the vertical plants - is ideal for this. Clematis occurs in hundreds of varieties and types. It’s a climber which is very hardy, and sometimes also bears beautiful seed fluff after flowering.

Clematis is native to many parts of the world, including Europe. The plant climbs using twisting leaf stems. Those leaf stems are exceptionally long, and start looking for support as soon as they have any strength. The plants can be planted both in the soil and in containers. Ensure that the plant has a ‘climbing aid’ and can fasten on to something - a pergola, wooden stake or trellis made of stretched wires. Walls, sheds, trees or fences are perfect climbing aids for Clematis.

Clematis flowers very profusely. The variety of colours and flower shapes is almost overwhelming. Blue, pink, purple and white are particularly common, but bi-coloured, single and double flowered varieties are becoming increasingly popular. The flower’s size can range from 2 to 24 cm. The visible flower is actually the calyx, and is beautifully coloured. The earliest Clematis flowers in March-April, but most varieties flower from May to the end of September. April is the ideal month for planting Clematis in the garden. There are various collections, ranging from early-flowering and evergreen cultivars through to small-flowered or large-flowered varieties which don’t bloom until later in the summer and lose their leaves in winter.