Of the more than 200 clematis species, most are deciduous vines; exceptions include useful evergreen vine Clematis 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 texensis
Native to Texas. Fast growth to 6–10 ft., with blue-green leaves divided into three to five heart-shaped leaflets. Tulip-shaped scarlet flowers, 2–3 in. across, are produced in abundance from early summer until late fall. Use on posts or a tall trellis in a location with full sun and good air circulation to prevent powdery mildew.
Crosses with large-flowered hybrids have produced eye-catching varieties such as the vivid pink ‘Duchess of Albany’, crimson ‘Gravetye Beauty’, and rich pink ‘Princess Diana’.