|Early Blue Clematis|
Clematis ( klem’-a-tis ) is an enormous, diverse and often glorious group of plants. They are classified as either large-flowered hybrids or species. There are shrubby and herbaceous clematis, but most are woody vines. Species clematis tend to have smaller flowers of various shapes, some with handsome foliage, others with decorative seedheads. The large-flowered hybrid clematis are the most familiar, prized for their stunning floral displays. Most clematis prefer a sunny exposure. Plant in an area that receives at least four to six hours of direct sun a day. Some varieties have pastel colored blossoms that tend to bleach. Filtered light during the hottest part of the day would be appropriate for them. Clematis prefer a rich, moist, well-drained soil. Dig a hole at least 18” deep and 18” wide. Enriching your soil with a generous amount of organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure or peatmoss is highly recommended. Add lime if your soil is acidic. Plan to fertilize every spring with a balanced granular fertilizer such as 5-10-5. Deep planting is important. Set the top of the rootball 2-3” lower than it was growing in the pot. Clematis prefer their roots cool. A mulch or under planting of a shallow-rooted plant will accomplish this. Some gardeners position their clematis in such a way that the roots are shaded by a nearby shrub or rock.