Alpine Clematis

Alpine clematis will add early zing

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No other climber offers such an enchanting display of delicate spring blooms in the face of unpredictable weather as the alpine clematis.

The thin stems and delicate fresh green foliage of Clematis alpina bely its hardy, durable temperament that enables it to perform to perfection whether braving flurries of snow, gusts of wind in sun or semi-shade.

Compact in habit, rarely getting over 2.5m (8ft) tall, it’s ideal for growing on fences, against walls, even those north or east facing, draped over evergreen shrubs or tree stumps or growing in pots and containers. The single or double unscented flowers are long lasting, and when spent turn into a silvery mop of feathery seeds which last into autumn, often after the deciduous foliage has fallen.

Unlike most others these clematis don’t need pruning, save thinning or shortening unwanted shots after they have flowered. Grow them in most moist, well-drained soils, to which garden compost or organic matter has been added. When growing in pots use a loam-based compost, such as John Innes No 2, feeding with a balanced slow-release fertiliser during spring and summer. They will need support such as an obelisk or tepee of twigs or branches. Planted now they will flower in the first year, but once established they are long lived giving pleasure at a critical time for many years to come.