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Clematis alpina ‘Stolwijk Gold’ (photo courtesy of Emerisa Gardens)
Clematis alpina ‘Stolwijk Gold’ (photo courtesy of Emerisa Gardens)

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Zone
Zones A2, A3, 2-11, 14-24, 28-41
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Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Clematis hybrids ‘Arabella’

Ranunculaceae
Deciduous, Ground covers, Perennials, Vines

CLEMATIS

Of the more than 200 clematis species, most are deciduous vines; exceptions include the useful evergreen vine C. armandii, as well as some interesting upright herbaceous types.

Attractive blooms come in a wide variety of shapes; they may resemble bells, stars, tulips, saucers, urns—even miniature lanterns. Each flower consists of a central brush of stamens surrounded by petallike segments called sepals. Range of flower colors is wide, from pastel pinks to crimson red; periwinkle blue through soft lavender shades, rich magenta, and dark purple; and pure white through creamy tones and even golden yellow. Unless otherwise specified, blooms are 4–6 in. across. Float cut flowers in a bowl of water to make a choice indoor display. Burn cut ends of stems with a match to make flowers last longer. The blossoms of the large-flowered hybrids and a few species are followed by fluffy clusters of seed heads, also useful for flower arrangements.

Leaves vary from pale to dark green, usually divided into leaflets. Leafstalks twist and curl to hold plant to its support.

Clematis hybrids

These deciduous vines grow 6–10 ft. tall, unless otherwise noted. Flowers of most are saucer shaped and 6–8 in. across. Although there are hundreds of large-flowered hybrids in commerce, local nurseries usually offer only a limited selection of the old favorites and perhaps some of the newer, branded varieties sold as Signature, Patio, and Garland clematis. Mail-order catalogs are the best source for collectors seeking the new and different.

‘Arabella’

Hybrid involving C. integrifolia. Azure blue flowers up to 3 in. across decorate a compact plant (about 6 ft. high and 5 ft. wide) that can be trained onto a trellis or left to grow into a spreading mound. Blooms over much of the summer.

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