When it comes to growing interesting plants in the garden, I’d say vines fit the bill. They’ll make a fence or a trellis look like a work of art in your yard and they really aren’t too hard to care for either. After a pool renovation about 10 years ago, i had a blank canvas of a yard to landscape. You see we paid for the pool and the hardscaping and then ran out of money. That blank canvas that I’m talking about was a blank yard with a lot of mulch and no plants. But over the years I’ve had a go at making the yard look nice without breaking the bank and it definitely has come along.
I thought about growing Wisteria but as I read more about it, grows up to 30 feet a year, only blooms for about two weeks a year, I decided to pass on that one. But during my research I came across these Clematis. What a great vine to grow. They don’t grow too crazy and they flower for a few weeks in the spring. That sounded great to me so I planted them in my blank yard 10 years ago and have enjoyed them every year since.
In the spring the dead wood from last year turns green and flowers up. I grow white and purple (Henryi & Jackmannii) along my fence and there’s some more purple ones by on a metal trellis against the house. I mean, come on! Who doesn’t like looking at big purple and white flowers?
There is all kinds of debate about whether you should cut back the dead wood to get more flowers and let the vines grow but I really don’t do anything with them. They bloom in spring, they have nice leaves during the summer, they die back in the late fall and then come back again.
The real “How to Care for Clematis” isn’t too hard either. Like I said, I kind of just let them be but here’s how you’re supposed to care for them. They need a trellis to climb. They can grow from 6 to 12 feet and will spread out about 3 or 4 feet too. I guess you can let them grow on the ground but that will not be the best way care for them. Make sure the soil is well drained because you don’t want your Clematis sitting with wet roots. As I do with everything, i planted them in great rich compost and mulched the roots. And then in the fall cut them back to about 1 foot from the ground. Really not a fussy plant at all.
It’s really too bad that they don’t bloom all year long but I’m okay with that. One year I decided i was going to go for all season blooms and planted morning glories and moon flowers. They grew and bloomed and did great all summer long. I thought I was successful in copying the success that I had with the clematis. Climbing vine, check, white flowers, purple flowers, check, check. But the following year, there were morning glories all over the yard growing everywhere like a plague. It seems like they reseed way too easily. And of course the birds dropped the seeds everywhere. Now they look like filithy weeds and I try to pull them out. I should have stuck with the Clematis.