Fall Flowering Clematis: Types Of Clematis That Bloom In Autumn
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Gardens can begin to look tired and faded as summer ends, but nothing brings color and life back to the landscape like a luscious, late blooming clematis. While autumn blooming clematis varieties aren’t as plentiful as those that bloom early in the season, there are enough choices to add incredible beauty and interest as the gardening season winds down.
Late blooming clematis plants are those that start blooming in mid- to late summer, and then continue blooming until the first frost. Keep reading to learn about a few of the best fall blooming clematis.
Clematis Plants for Fall
Below are some common types of clematis that bloom in autumn:
- ‘Alba Luxurians’ is a type of fall flowering clematis. This vigorous climber reaches heights of up to 12 feet (3.6 m.). ‘Alba Luxurians’ displays greyish-green leaves and big, white, green-tipped flowers, often with hints of pale lavender.
- ‘Duchess of Albany’ is a unique clematis that produces mid-sized pink, tulip-like flowers from summer until fall. Each petal is marked with a distinctive, dark purple stripe.
- ‘Silver Moon’ is appropriately named for the pale silvery lavender flowers that bloom from early summer to early autumn. Yellow stamens provide contrast for these pale, 6 to 8 inch (15 to 20 cm.) blooms.
- ‘Avante Garde’ puts on a show in summer and provides big, gorgeous blooms well into autumn. This variety is valued for its unique colors – burgundy with pink ruffles in the center.
- ‘Madame Julia Correvon’ is a stunner with intense, wine-red to deep pink, four-petaled blossoms. This late-blooming clematis puts on a show throughout summer and fall.
- ‘Daniel Deronda’ is a fall flowering clematis that produces gigantic purple star-shaped fall flowering clematis blooms in early summer, followed by a second flowering of somewhat smaller flowers in late summer through fall.
- ‘The President’ produces huge, deep bluish-violet flowers in late spring and early summer, with a second flush in autumn. The big seed heads continue to provide interest and texture after the blooms have faded.
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Clematis – End of Season Care Tips: How to Prepare for Winter
Versatile, graceful and incredibly beautiful, the clematis is undoubtedly the world’s most loved vine. Clematis vines are gifted climbers and prolific bloomers with over 300 different species that offer a wide range of colors and fragrances. Whether they’re grown along a fence, sprawled over pergolas or cultivated in pots, clematis vines make for remarkable, breathtaking displays. Here, you’ll find valuable tips on winter care and protection of clematis.
How to prepare clematis for winter
Winter preparation must start with deadheading the plants in fall. Snip off the spent clematis flowers using a pair of clean, sharp shears. Also, make sure to remove any dead or damaged vines that you encounter.
Mulching clematis is an act of great importance, to be performed just as the ground begins to freeze. Use dry leaves, straw, bark and other organic materials and mulch to a depth of at least 2-3 inches around the plants’ base. The mulch acts as an insulator and protects the clematis roots from the freezing temperatures.
Pruning is an integral part of winter care of clematis. Prune the plants in late winter before the advent of new growth. Make sure you prune judiciously, leaving the vines at least 2-3 feet tall.
In areas subject to strong winds, it’s best to secure loose vines to the support structure using a piece of thread or twine. Water the plants regularly until they die back on their own. For clematis grown in containers, use of insulating materials like plastic sheets or bubble wrap is an easy and effective way to protect them from heavy frost.
The bare stems that clematis vines are reduced to in winter do present a disheartening picture but remember that it’s only temporal. For the same bare stems will rise gracefully next season and adorn the landscape with their stupendous beauty.
For more information on Clematis care, see tips and tricks from our Clematis Expert Deborah Hardwick.
Sweet Autumn Clematis Care
Although it can be used as a ground cover, sweet autumn clematis is more commonly found draped over stone walls or scaling structures such as arbors. It needs a sturdy structure, as the plant can get quite massive and heavy. However, it can be sparse and leggy near the base, so it is ideal to surround the lower area with other plants that hide the bottom of the sweet autumn clematis and keep its roots cool.
Regular feeding and watering will reward you with a large vine blanketed with white flowers by early fall. After flowering is complete, the vine should be rigorously pruned. This will limit the self-seeding that can lead to the invasive spread of the plant.
Plant sweet autumn clematis in full sun for best flowering. However, these vines can tolerate a considerable amount shade—unlike most other clematis species—as long as you are willing to put up with some reduced flowering.
The plant is not fussy about soil conditions as long as there is good drainage. The ideal soil will have a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH, but even slightly alkaline soils generally support the plant quite well.
Sweet autumn clematis has average water needs. Roughly 1 inch of water per week, through rainfall or irrigation, is generally sufficient. Withhold additional water during rainy spells, as this plant doesn't like to sit in wet soil.
Temperature and Humidity
Sweet autumn clematis grows vigorously in the climate conditions across its entire hardiness range from USDA growing zones 5 to 9. It does not have particular humidity requirements.
Like all clematis species, this plant is a heavy feeder. Apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer, such as 5-10-10, in the spring. Then, repeat every few weeks throughout the growing season.
HOW TO PLANT CLEMATIS
Unlike planting practices for most plants, clematis should be planted deeper than in their original pot. Photo by: Avalon / Alamy Stock Photo.
When to plant:
Plant in early spring just as they are going into their growth phase or later in the fall. Although nurseries may promote and sell them mid-to-late spring when in bloom, this isn't necessarily the best time to plant as there's not enough time to establish their roots before summer heat arrives.
Where to plant:
Consider the mature size of the plant and its growth habit to allow enough space, especially for the faster growers. Plant where the leaves will get sun, but the roots and base of the plant are shaded the north side of a smaller shrub is ideal.
How to plant:
Plant clematis deeper than most plants, with the crown approximately 3 to 5 inches below the soil line. This will help encourage stems to emerge from dormant buds, making for a stronger multi-stemmed base. Water thoroughly after planting.
- A superphosphate fertilizer can be added to the bottom of the planting hole and covered with an inch of soil.
- A 3-inch layer of mulch will help keep the roots cool, but should be kept away from the base of the plant by about 5 to 6 inches.
- Be careful handling the delicate roots — nothing can save your clematis if its roots are damaged during the planting process.
- Some people have been known to experience skin irritation, so gloves should be worn when handling them.
How to Grow Clematis Vines
- When planting clematis, choose your location carefully. Clematis like to have cool roots, This means they are perfect for planting among a bed of foliage, or behind some low growing shrubs. They will want to get some sun on their tops. But cool roots, sunny tops. That’s the place to plant them!
- When to plant clematis? You can either plant bare root in the late fall or early spring, or from pots in the late spring, early summer. We don’t recommend trying to plant them in the heat of summer.
- Dig a hole twice as large as the rootball, and add organic matter to the hole. Clematis love rich soil. Plant 3 inches or so deeper than it was planted in the pot. This will protect any new buds forming at the base of the plant.
- Treat the roots gently and place in hole. Gently pack in fresh, amassed soil. Water and fertilize.
- Clematis like their roots to stay moist, but not waterlogged. This is where adding organic matter to the planting hole comes in. Do not let the roots of your new clematis vine dry out.
- Clematis are also heavy feeders. Fertilize every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.
You must provide a support for the clematis vine to climb from the beginning. They need something small to grab onto, such as netting, wire cloth or trellis. They will not be able to climb up a pole or a wall without additional support. Since this vine is such a grand plant, you might want to think about matching it with an attractive support. Try this “Jardin Flower Trellis” from ‘Gardeners Supply‘. It’s lattice is the perfect spacing for clematis to grab hold, and it shows off each bloom.
Even the more vigorous clematis vines, like Sweet Autumn Clematis and Clematis Montana need a little support when getting started. If you are growing them up an arbor or wall, one trick is to get them started with a little chicken wire wrapped around the bottom of the post. Once the plant gets going, it will be invisible. You only need the wire support 4-6 feet up the pole. By the time those varieties reach that height, they will be strong enough to keep going on their own.
Learning exactly how to prune clematis is important, because if you prune at the wrong time, you will have no blooms! But this is easy! The first thing you need to know, is which of the three clematis types your plant falls under. You can check with your grower when you buy your plant. Every clematis vine should be marked as to whether it is a type 1, 2 or 3.
- Type 1 clematis bloom on old wood only, so they are the least complicated to prune. After flowering, simply prune back to size and shape desired. One of our favs, the spring blooming, huge growing, very fragrant Clematis Montana is a type 1 plant.
- Type 2 clematis vines bloom on both old and new wood. You don’t want to prune these as aggressively. After blooming, simply prune lightly to remove weak growth or growth that is older than 4 or 5 years old. The beautiful pink “Nelly Moser’ fits into this category.
- Type 3 is easy. These vines only bloom on new growth, so in early spring, before the plant starts to bud out, cut back to within 12-18 inches of the ground. Some varieties that belong to this group are the old fashioned “Jackmaani”.
Our Favorite Clematis Varieties
Clematis Montana “Rubens”. This is a vigorous variety that grows 25-30 feet. It starts blooming in early spring, and will fill your entire garden with the scent of vanilla. Beloved old fashioned plant that is one of the easiest clematis to grow. Find this blush pink beauty at ‘Dutch Gardens‘.
Clematis “Paniculata” (Sweet Autumn Clematis) This favorite clematis vine blooms late in the season. It is called Sweet Autumn Clematis because its fragrance perfumes the late summer and early autumn air. The flowers are smaller and more delicate than some other clematis, but much more abundant. Growing to 20 feet, this is a type 3 pruner. Find this clematis vine at ‘Michigan Bulb‘.
Clematis “Henryi”. This white clematis blooms in early summer and then again later summer, with huge 6-8 inch blooms. This one was a winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. It grows 10-12 feet high, and can tolerate some shade. The deep chocolate violet stamens are stunning against the pure white flowers. Find Henryi at ‘Nature Hills‘. Type 2 pruner.
Clematis “Crystal Fountain”. A double clematis in a rich blue, with these amazing sprays of lavender and lime green. This is a garden award future winner if ever we saw one! This is a type 2, hardy in zones 4-9, and blooms all summer. You can find this plant at ‘Dutch Gardens‘.
Clematis “Carnaby”. This variety is one of the few clematis that can be grown up to zone 11, and down to zone 4. A gorgeous bright pink flower that a blooms once in early summer, then again in late summer. Type 3 for pruning. Find it at ‘Spring Hill‘.
Clematis for Shade
Clematis “Nelly Moser”. Another old fashioned clematis, Nelly Moser blooms in early summer, then again in September with this gorgeous 6 inch pink blooms. Hardy zones 3-8. Type 1 pruner. Will tolerate light shade. Find this pretty pink one at ‘Michigan Bulb‘.
Clematis “Jackmanii”. The oldest large flowered clematis hybrid, this hardy vine grows 6-8 feet with huge, violet blue flowers each summer. Type 3 pruner. Find this pretty blue variety at ‘Burpee‘.
Clematis “Nubia”. If you want a true red clematis vine, then “Nubia” is for you. Zones 4-9, 4-6 feet tall, and is a type 3 pruner. Blooms in early summer, then again in later summer. Such a show stopping bloom! Find this gorgeous variety at ‘Spring Hill‘.
Now that you know all about growing and planting clematis vines, which one will you be trying first? We also think you will also love our posts on Planting Lilacs and Chic Trellis Projects!
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