How to Grow Clematis Plants in your Garden

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Traveller’s Joy, Virgin’s Bower, and Vase Vine

Clematis is a large genus of hardy perenniels that may flower in Spring, Summer, or Autumn; this is dependent upon the individual type of Clematis plant species.

They are climbing vines, which have large flat flowers of many colours such as pink, yellow, purple, and white.

Clematis Photograph by Doug Wertman, CC.

Clematis Montana
Clematis Montana by Amanda Slater.

Clematis jackmanni
Clematis jackmanni by M. Gifford.

Clematis Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Clematis, Traveller’s Joy, Virgin’s Bower, Vase Vine, Old Man’s Beard.
Life Cycle: Hardy perennial.
Height: 72 to 140 inches (180 to 350 cm); may reach over thirty feet (9 metres
Native: Far Eastern Asia.
Family: Ranunculaceae.

Growing Region: Zones 3 to 9.
Flowers: Species dependent: Spring and/or summer and/or autumn. Can bloom twice.
Flower Details: White, cream, pink, yellow, purple. Flower colour often changes through the growing season. Flat. Single or double.
Foliage: Green. Deltoid.

Sow: Easiest to grow from cuttings or shop bought vines/roots. Seeds: 1/8 inch (3 mm). Germination time: one month to three years; usually within a year. Spacing 36 to 48 inches (90 to 120 cm).
Seed: Method 1: Seeds should first be sown into flats in the autumn. Next sink the flat into the ground in an area that offers shade, preferably close to a wall that faces north. Provide a glass/plastic covering. Keep an eye on the flats to ensure that the soil remains moist. Bring the flats indoors at the beginning of spring and keep at 70°F (21°C). Transplant any seedlings that appear outside.
Seed: Method 2: Sow seeds in a moist growing medium in a container in the spring. Freeze for three weeks. Next bury the container to lip level in the shade. Supply a glass or plastic cover and once seedlings emerge transplant them to their final location.
Vines: A planting hole of with a depth of 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) should be dug. Put a layer of gravel at the bottom and use a soil with mixed in organic matter.

Requirements and Care:
Full sunlight for best results, can grow in partial shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 6.0 to 7.5. Sandy loan with organic matter mixed in. Regular watering. After the second year provide a feed at the start of spring and every six week thereon until growing has finished for the season. Mulch. Provide support. Prune dead stems and weaker material in the spring. Cut back any vines that flower late in the season to about 15 inches (45 cm). Propagate: by taking cuttings at the start of summer.

How to Grow Clematis

It can take anything from one month to three years for the seeds of Clematis to germinate.

The seeds of Clematis should be sown at a depth of 3 mm (1/8th inch) (if using roots then use a depth of 6 cm (2 inches) in flats, in the autumn.

The flats should be in a shaded area, and covered in glass. Once winter is over, bring the flats indoors, so that they are subject then to a temperature of 21 to 24 degrees centigrade (70 to 75°F).

Alternatively, seeds can be frozen in the freezer for three weeks, and sown in a shady part of the garden below glass in the spring.

If you buy vines from a garden center, then they should be grown outdoors from autumn.

Clematis should be planted at a spacing about one meter (40 inches) apart. Locate into a sunny part of the garden. this should have a rich loamy soil of pH 6.0 to 7.5.

Ideally the soil should also have added organic matter.

Caring for Clematis in the Garden

The Clematis vine require regular watering. Apply an application of a a weak fertilizer every six weeks throughout the growing season.

As they are climbing plants, they require a support. Dead branches should be pruned in the spring.

As Clematis is quite difficult to grow from seed, it may prove easier to take cuttings, this procedure should be performed in early summer.

I hope that you found this guide on how to grow Clematis plants in your garden. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Anemone sylvestris, Nigella plant, and Trollius plants.