While summerflowering clematis are more popular, there’s a distinct charm and beauty to the winter varieties. With careful selection, you can have clematis in bloom every month of the year. Winter clematis have small flowers that make them welcome in the coldest days of the year.
A few also have slight fragrance. Varieties of C. cirrhosa often look best when grown on a pergola, where you can walk under the plants and see the flowers to perfection. Unlike most summer-flowering varieties, the winter bloomers prefer a sunny spot, a sheltered position and well-drained soil. Most will thrive on a sunny south or west facing wall where they’re protected from extreme frosts, and where any winter warmth canbe reflected to enhance their fragrance. Most grow well in alkaline soils but if the soil is clay, mix in some grit before planting. C. cirrhosa grows well in pots if planted in loam-based compost such as John Innes No 3. Prune immediately after flowering, in March or April, to keep plants compact.