Clematis viticella

Colorful climbers that will lend height and vibrance to any plot.

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Although not as large-flowered or individually flamboyant as earlier flowering clematis the smaller-blooming Viticella varieties are the real champions of summer climbers, reliably flowering from July into September and often beyond. The original species comes from Southern Europe and Western Asia. With demure nodding purple and white-centred flowers it was the first clematis introduced into British gardens in the 16th century. A swathe of hybridisation with other varieties has resulted in a wide range of flower forms from the typical wild bell-shapes, through hanging parasols, doubles or semi-doubles to open single flowers composed of four petals, or ‘tepals’. Colours vary from purples, blues, mauves, reds, pinks and whites, often bicoloured, or with a white centre or contrasting colour picotee.

While the individual blossoms may not have impact from a distance when massed together they create quite a show or backdrop, ideal or growing on fences, walls or draping over larger shrubs. Smaller-growing varieties can be grown in pots and containers, ideal for placing beside doors or siting on paving. They are adaptable, growing in sun or semi-shade in a wide range of soils, preferring moist, well-drained ones to dry. Like Clematis alpina they will also tolerate north-facing sites and being wind-tolerant are good for coastal sites. They are also

C. viticella varieties flower on growth made in the same season, so can be cut back to just above ground level in autumn or late winter as new growth starts to appear. This means that varieties can be easily partnered to bloom together, then mutually cropped to start the cycle again.