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.
From China. Fast-growing vine to 15–20 ft. Leathery leaves are divided into three glossy, dark green leaflets to 6 in. long; they droop downward, creating a strongly textured look. Creamy white, vanilla-scented, saucer-shaped flowers, 1 1/2–2 in. across, are borne in clusters in early to midspring.
Leaves burn badly at the tips in areas where the soil or water contains excess salts. Best planted in a sunny, sheltered spot (out of harsh winds) with adequate support, such as a sturdy fence. Slow to start but races once established. Makes a great privacy screen if not allowed to become bare at the base.
China. Not as vigorous, large, or hardy as the American native C. radicans, but flowers are s...
This fern from Japan and China is sometimes referred to as holly fern. It is usually seen in its varie...
Fragrant, 1 1/2-in.-long flowers appear in late winter, early spring, with occasional sporadic bloom i...