Advice on Clematis

I have a few vines that I planted early in the spring. I have also planted some seeds recently. The seeds haven't sprouted yet & the vines are kind of scraggly. Does anyone have any advice? Where is the best location to plant them and when? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I fell in love with Clematis when I saw some in a yard on day. It was so thick & healthy looking that I thought it was a bush! That's how I'd like mine to be.
  17 answers
  • Lori J Lori J on Aug 07, 2012
    This long, hot, dry summer has been hard on my clematis. Generally speaking, they like the sun...but who likes the sun when it is 100 degrees or more day after day? One thing about clematis is that the need be very well mulched at the root and kept well watered. Four of mine are wood chip mulched and my biggest vine is in an alley bed. I use my lawn clippings there. None of them is at their best this summer and I just have to hope that mine will recover a bit when we finally put the hot summer behind us.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 07, 2012
    Clematis are known for being slow to get established, Shelly, so it is not surprising yours have not taken off this year. Even the International Clematis Society says first-year growth is often "pathetic." When I've gotten a small plant I have actually grown it in a pot for a year before planting it in the ground. As Lori says, keeping the the roots cool is crucial. I've actually placed rocks over mine. Also, water, water, water! Growing clematis from seeds is truly a labor of love as they can take up to three years to geminate, and you should not expect to see any germination at all for at least six months.

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 07, 2012
    I actually had a few flowers on mine, but that was it. Water drips there constantly from my a/c drain pipe. Hopefully with a lot of patience I will eventually have some pretty healthy looking Clematis. :) Thank you, Lori & Douglas. :)

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 08, 2012
    If that means the soil is constantly wet, Shelly, that would not be good.

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 08, 2012
    Yes, it's pretty much always wet. Do you think when the a/c is no longer in use they will do better? I'll be sure to plant my next Clematis in a different spot.

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 08, 2012
    Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 09, 2012
    They may improve this year but you'll have the same problem next and will probably never have the kind of plant you envision. It would be better to move them to a drier spot.

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 09, 2012
    Should I wait until Fall or cooler weather to transplant them, Douglas?

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 10, 2012
    If the soil is constantly wet, I'm afraid the roots are going to rot. This is not an ideal time to transplant, but you're kind of between a rock and a hard place.

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 10, 2012
    Douglas, I sure do appreciate your advice! :)

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 12, 2012
    You're welcome, Shelly. Good luck with your clematis.

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 12, 2012
    Hey, Douglas, do you know anything about the Mexican Bird of Paradise?

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 13, 2012
    We have the traditional orange birds and the more tropical, and larger, white birds in Florida, but I'd never heard of a Mexican Bird of Paradise until your question. What did you want to know? Here are some basic facts:

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 13, 2012
    I have one growing that I planted from a seed. I was just wondering what the best location to transplant it would be?

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 14, 2012
    They're not hardy below zone 8. You may need to grow it in a (large) pot in a sunny location so you can move it somewhere protected for the winter.

  • Shelly G Shelly G on Aug 14, 2012
    I got the seeds from two different mature plants that are growing here in town. One is right down the street from me & the other is across town & it's big, so it's obviously been there several years. I might try planting it on the south side of the house to block the north wind. The other two plants are planted out in the open on the east side of the yards. Wish me luck! :)

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 15, 2012
    Plants don't always listen to what zone they're supposed to grow in. I think your idea to plant them in a protected location is a good one. Try to mimic the conditions of the ones from which you collected the seed.