Blooming Plant of
Clematis spp. (KLEM-uh-tis or kli-MAT-is)
Virgin’s bower, Traveler’s joy, Leather flower, Vase vine
Clematis is a group of perennial herbs or woody vines. This
genus includes approximately 250 species and many hybrids. Some
are evergreen, and some are herbaceous. Clematis plants vary
greatly in their flower forms, colors, bloom seasons, foliage
effects and plant heights. When the flowers fade, the plants
bear small, dry fruits.
Clematis flowers may be blue, violet, white, pink or red.
Each bloom cycle can last several weeks. The plants can bloom
several times a year with proper care, and they can survive for
years, depending on the environment.
Clematis plants are readily available from spring through fall.
Clematis plants are somewhat sensitive to ethylene gas. Check
with your suppliers to make sure their crops have been treated
with an ethylene inhibitor at the farm or during transportation.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright, indirect light
is best for plants displayed indoors.
WATER Keep the soil moist at
all times, but don’t overwater because it can cause root rot.
Avoid standing water on the soil, foliage and flowers. Irregular
watering can cause bud drop. Avoid overhead watering.
TEMPERATURE Warm areas (65 F
to 75 F) are best for displaying Clematis plants indoors. Do not
refrigerate them because sudden drops in temperature can result
in leaf and blossom drop. Don’t let the temperature drop below
55 F in rooms where the plants are displayed.
HUMIDITY Clematis plants enjoy moderate humidity.
Indoors, a pebble tray can be used to help keep the humidity
FERTILIZER Feed the plants every three weeks during
the growing season with a high phosphorus or bloom fertilizer.
GROOMING Cut back Clematis plants and vines when they
have finished flowering to remove straggly branches and faded
TOXICITY When bruised, the leaves and flowers of
Clematis plants can irritate the eyes and throat.
BLOOMS Don’t accept plants
that show signs of wilt, rot, mold or yellowing.
STEMS AND FOLIAGE Select plants that have multiple
stems; healthy, dark green growth; and a root system that fills
PESTS Aphids or mealy bugs may be a problem. They
usually can be washed off with a strong stream of water. Safer
Insecticidal Soap can be used if needed.
MEANING “Clematis” is from
the Greek word for “vine.”
ORIGINS Clematis is native throughout North America,
Europe and Asia and is a member of the Ranunculaceae family.
HISTORY Many Clematis plants were cross-bred and
improved in the 1850s. Jackman Nursery, the leading hybridizer
in Britain in the 1860s, introduced C. x jackmanii in 1862, and
it is still the most popular Clematis hybrid grown today.
Some information provided by:
• American Clematis Society,
• International Clematis Society,
Images courtesy of The John Henry Company
Reach “Fresh Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD,
or (415) 239-3140.
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