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Flower of the Week: Clematis

Local experts from Greenstreet Gardens weigh in on this special flower and why it's a great addition to any flowerbed.

Clematis has been long hailed as the queen of the vines, and for good reason.

There is no other perennial vine that offers as much versatility in both form and color and there has never been such abundant access to this wonderful plant then there is today. The timing and location of flowers varies; spring-blooming clematis flower on side shoots of the previous year's stems, summer/fall blooming clematis bloom only on the ends of new stems, and twice-flowering clematis do both.

The following post was submitted by Maggie Wiles of . 

Their garden hybrids have been popular among gardeners beginning with Clematis × jackmanii, a garden standby since 1862; more hybrid cultivars are being produced constantly. They are mainly of Chinese and Japanese origin.

Clematis are like choco­lates, once you've had a few, you can't stop—you always want just one more. Luckily, they are good at fitting into crowded gardens because you can grow them in places where there's already something else planted. Plant the clematis at the base of a existing shrub or at the edge of the tree canopy and feed it up through the tree or shrub … once it takes hold, it will make itself at home and settle in just fine.

Roses are the ideal companion plant for the clematis with the beauty lying in the pairing of size, color, scent, and timing of their respective blooms. Clematis are also great for containers. Best to use the new compact varieties that grow 6- to 8-feet tall and, dependent on variety, will flower from June to September.

Clematis don't appreciate the hot sun hitting the earth just above the roots. They need a cool root run. The ground around each plant should be shaded by some low-growing shrub, annuals or perennials and an application of 2 to 3 inches of mulch. The rest of the Clematis should climb up a trellis, pole, tree or shrub into full sun. In doing the actual planting, make certain that the crown is placed 3 inches below the surface of the soil. You’ll soon be enjoying masses of bloom the very first year!

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