section is based on an article that appeared in
a recent BCS Journal. It will be updated from time
to time as new areas of interest arise.
any questions about looking
after clematis, please
feel free to e-mail
us and we will arrange
for them to be
answered for you by
one of our more experienced members.
We do this on
understanding that we
may publish the question and
answer at a later date
without, of course, disclosing your name.
Please also see the section 'Growing Clematis' for information
that may answer general questions.
the bushiness of new plants
- Growing Clematis
davidiana from seed
roots from rotting
and Plant Breeders Rights
- Growing Clematis WISLEYTM
do I lose so many of my cuttings during their
Professionals will take their softwood
cuttings from plants that are indoors, in vigorous
growth, often with background heating and some
bottom heat. Therefore, cutting material is available
to them much earlier in the season, compared to
us amateurs who usually take our cutting material
from normal plants growing out in the garden. Professional
cuttings are probably rooted and potted on before
some of us find enough suitable growth on our plants
to get cuttings. If our cuttings could be taken
earlier, potted on as soon as good roots are evident,
they would then have several months in which to
develop into real plants before they shut down
for the winter. The greatest losses occur with
cuttings that have only just rooted by when autumn
arrives. Some losses can be avoided by not potting
on cuttings after, say the end of August, leaving
them in their cutting compost trays until the following
March, but, if they were taken late in the season,
they still might not be developed enough to survive
the winter. Either we must get them into growth
earlier, (have them in containers in a heated greenhouse)
or accept our heavy losses, or leave this type
of propagation to the professionals.
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should I do to improve the bushiness of my newly
Prune down to lowest pair of growth
buds in early March, and pinch out the growing
tip on each new shoot as soon as it makes two pairs
of leaves. Pinch out again when the shoots from
these new leaves have also made two pairs of leaves.
If growth also starts again from ground level,
this too can be pinched out at same two pairs of
leaves. This process can be repeated as often as
you wish until mid-May, by which time your plant
will already have many branching stems instead
of just one or two. Pinching out will obviously
delay the start of flowering, but now you will
have blooms much lower on the plant and no bare
expanse of stem. Many stems, instead of just one
or two, also give you much better insurance against
losing your new plant to wilt. clematis wilt may
still attack it but now, because it is shorter
and bushy the wilt may only affect a small part
of the plant. Clematis 'H. F. Young' is
one of few clematis that build up a bushy plant
without pinching out.
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Having fallen in
love with the beautiful white flowers shown on
the label attached to the plant, I have recently
acquired a brand new Clematis paniculata. The
leaves are very attractive too. I do not know
very much about this plant. Please advise me
on the following: (a) what is the best planting/
growing position in the garden or does it need
a conservatory?; (b) should the plant be pruned
during the first Spring after planting?; (c)
does it flower on old or new wood?; (d) how and
when should I feed it? and (e) can I grow this
through another suitable shrub in the garden?
I certainly do not wish to lose this plant -
cost me quite a bit! Any other information on
my paniculata would be most welcome . My garden
is not subjected to too many frosts.
In the Southern counties of England
this plant is a candidate for a sunny, protected
situation. If you do not wish to risk losing it
why not grow it in a pot outside (pot can also
be buried), and bring it inside for winter. Further
North, it is a good plant for a conservatory or
cool greenhouse but rules out those greenhouses
in full sun unless in a pot which will allow placing
outside in the Summer. I consider this plant special,
yet out of the ordinary. I make every effort to
grow its successor by means of cuttings or other
means, because it is inclined to sulk if things
are not to its liking.
It is not necessary to prune the
plant during the first Spring after planting. However,
if the plant is very weak or spindly pruning may
C. paniculata (formerly called C. indivisa)
is a single sex plant, needing both sexes for seed
production. It was introduced from New Zealand
in 1840. It flowers on old wood and makes quick
new growths afterwards to ripen for the rest of
the summer in readiness for next year's flowers.
Feed the plant at regular intervals
(say monthly) using a balanced fertiliser.
Growing through another shrub in
the garden may be difficult unless it is planted
permanently near the shrub. The leaves tend to
hang on tenaciously to their host and cannot be
just pulled apart - but painstakingly unhitched
leaf by leaf - a lot of work and time!
In 1959 Whitehead wrote about a
variety lobata with leaves coarsely toothed or
lobed, and has larger flowers, but a more recent
contributor states that this difference is only
evident on young immature plants and the plant
eventually grows out of it to produce the 'normal'
ovate (not toothed) leaves.
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read that C. davidiana can be grown successfully
from seed in Gardening Illustrated -a very old
gardening magazine (1901). I would like to know
more about this clematis, and where can I get
some seed of this clematis?
I presume it is C. heracleifolia var. davidiana.
This plant is well known as is another equally
desirable variety 'Wyevale'. Blue,
highly scented, midsummer to Autumn flowering,
1.2 m (4 ft.) high, coarse large leaves, smells
and looks like hyacinth flowers. I would recommend
buying a plant than raising from seed, unless you
want more plants.
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sown my clematis seeds with great care I am disappointed
that not a single seed germinated. I can only
report 100% failure rate!
The most important thing to ensure
that the seeds are viable. Try and obtain your
seed from a reliable and reputable source or ask
an experienced grower to show you how to collect
and prepare the seed for sowing from your own plants.
Be patient, species and small flowered cultivars
can take from 3 -12 months and seed of some large
flowered cultivars may take up to 2½ years.
Do not over protect the seed pots, they may need
varying temperatures to break dormancy.
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am having great difficulty getting hold of sphagnum
peat now, for cuttings. Would you say that sedge
peat could be used or should I go on hunting
for sphagnum moss peat?
No, sedge peat is not a suitable
alternative - too wet really. Any proprietary brand
of compost including cactus compost for cuttings
will give satisfactory results, but most gardeners
make their own mix which usually results in a better
drained, more open textured compost. Inert materials
such as perlite and vermiculite can be added to
at least a third by volume but they must be of
horticultural quality to ensure compost remains
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it necessary to stratify clematis seeds before
No. However, germination of certain
seeds ( large-flowering varieties - remember they
do not breed true) may be hastened by stratification.
After harvesting the seeds, leave them in a dry
place for a couple of days before storing them
in a paper bag at the bottom of the fridge. In
February/March, clean the seeds by removing the
fruit tails and other debris. Place the seeds in
moist sharp sand in a plastic bag, shake thoroughly
and leave it in the fridge for about 6 to 8 weeks
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do I lose so many containerised plants to a from
of root rot, compared to the same plants in the
ground. This goes for many types of plants, besides
The reason is quite likely to be
a fungus disease caused by Phytopthora sp.
that can attach roots and crowns of many plants.
It damages some plants and completely kills others.
No real cure is available to normal gardeners in
the United Kingdom and it is much better to prevent
the problem, rather than to cure it. Scrupulous
cleanliness of tools, work surfaces, floors and
most particularly, pots and other containers, is
the best method of preventing an outbreak. Phytopthora thrives
in damp, warm conditions and poorly drained composts
are ideal breeding ground (also see The Clematis 1999
- Spring Supplement, pp. 34-35).
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very excited about a new clematis hybridized in
my garden. I have registered it as 'Barbara Ann's
Lace' with the International Clematis Society.
Would you be able to give me any direction or advice
in the process of patenting the clematis and perhaps
marketing it sometime in the future.
The best way to move forward with
this clematis is for the discoverer to contact
someone who can give an independent evaluation
of the merits, or otherwise, of bringing it onto
the market. The time to decide if it is worth protecting
with Plant Breeders Rights or other form of Licence,
is when those involved are convinced that it is
so different and excellent, compared to other clematis,
that it justifies the cost of protection, ( probably £1500.00
or more ). Normally, unless you expect to sell
many thousands of its clones and you are already
in the commercial world of clematis, it is not
worth protecting a new cultivar. You only get back
about 25p for each plant sold, so many have to
be sold to even get back what you have paid out.
The procedure for obtaining PBR
is not short and the people concerned with testing
it for complying with the regulations will need
at least 3 good sized plants for a year. If it
does not stay perfectly true, ( no variation in
shape, form, colour, etc ) then PBR will be refused.
As always in these cases, my advice
would be, enjoy what has turned up and spread it
around amongst your friends. Presumably, it is
either a chance cross or a sport, so unless it
has bloomed identically for 3 years, it could bloom
differently another year. I would suggest that
doing the Lottery is a better way to make a fortune
than looking to put PBR on a clematis !! One more
thing, I have had wonderful blooms from some of
my seedlings in my garden and yet, when grown in
other people's gardens or in containers, the result
is nowhere near as dramatic. Make sure the special
effect that makes this clematis so enchanting is
not something to do with the location, soil, etc
it is currently grown in.
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just become the owners of Clematis WISLEY TM and
cannot make up our mind where to plant it. The
prime question is outside all year or outside in
summer and in an unheated greenhouse during the
Nov-April period? a. Is it feasible to plant the
new plant (which arrived in a 3 "pot and is
now 6 1/2"high) into (say) a 9" (5 litre)
'Hide Tomato Pot" using General Purpose Compost
(which will have some chalk in it & to which
I could add (say) 2 dessert spoons of ground limestone
or the like to make it really alkaline) mixed with
(say) 2 dessert spoons of either "6X" or
1 dessert spoon of Rose Fertilise. Then to leave
it outside until next May ( but bringing it into
the unheated large Greenhouse during the winter)
before planting it out to wherever presents itself
as suitable? or b. Could it be left in a 5 litre
pot (or a largish planting tub) for several seasons?
If "yes", for how many? And would that
be in the unheated greenhouse the whole year(s)
round? c. Any other comment(s) or suggestions,
Clematis WISLEYTM is
fully hardy and will not need any period in a greenhouse,
even an unheated one.
The main problem is that you have
a very small plant, no bigger than rooted cutting.
It will take the best part of 2 years to make this
into a plant that will earn its keep in the garden.
Ideally, it should have been set in a maximum of
a 2 litre pot and kept there for between 3 and
6 months before planting out in the garden. Over
potting it into a 5 litre pot may cause it to sulk
and do nothing, so, if time is available it should
be placed in a smaller pot, as soon as possible.
There is absolutely no need to add
lime to clematis compost. Whilst it is true that
C. vitalba ( Old Man's Beard ), thrives on chalk,
none of the large flowered clematis are native
to this country and will usually be happy in any
compost that has a PH between 5.5 to about 8.5
Rather than molly coddle your new
clematis, it would be better this winter to place
the complete pot into the soil, up to the rim level
or even deeper, so that it experiences the natural
seasons. Lift it out next spring and place it in
its final planting position.
Like many other clematis, C. WISLEYTM can
be grown in a container, provided it is bucket
sized or larger, ( ideally 18 inches deep and the
same across ). Two thirds J I No 3, with one sixth
extra grit ( 6mm ) and one sixth peat. Mix the
whole lot together, adding slow release fertiliser,
then fill your container, which MUST have excellent
drainage and be kept OFF the ground so that it
can drain properly.
Whilst I would agree on Rose Fertiliser,
I would steer clear of 6X until you have a fully
mature plant or you will burn the roots.
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