16 Unique Ideas for How to Grow a beautiful Clematis Vine | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

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7/16/2015

16 Unique Ideas for How to Grow a beautiful Clematis Vine

I work with a few nurseries to test their plants in my region and experiment with things foEvery spring this means that boxes of new plants arrive for me to plant in my garden, experiment with, generally get inspired by and ultimately write about.

This year I requested some clematis because Joanne Neale’s fantastic article about easy care clematis in the summer issue of PITH + VIGOR got me in the mood to add some of these fantastic climbing vines to my garden.  When the boxes arrived, I was expecting one or two, but I got 16 (this is obviously not a complaint, just a statement of fact).  

I have eight Clematis Diamond Ball and eight Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’ and finding homes for all of them isn’t all that easy.  So far, I’ve planted three of the ‘Sweet Summer Love’ (and I’ve worked out places for 3 more) and I’ve planted none of the Diamond Balls (some removal of other plants and bed prep is currently underway), but I have a home for at least 5 of them.

With a quarter of the plants still needing placement, I’ve been playing a new little game around here….its called where to put the clematis vine. The rules are easy, but the game is hard, finding at least 16 interesting places to plant a beautiful clematis in the garden is a challenge even in a big garden like mine.  Climbers need a place to climb and while I’m still working on where they all will go….I’m inspired by the dilemma and I found these 16 clematis design inspirations.

1) Plant it near a container garden and let it scramble through other textural plants.

The other plants (shrubs are a great option) will act as the support for the clematis.

Harlow Carr Clematis scrambling through container garden by jacki-dee via www.pithandvigor.com

2) Train it on a staircase railing.

Just make sure you can still put your hand on the railing with out hurting the plant (if you need to).

clematis on staricase railing by jacki-dee via www.pithandvigor.com

3) Grow it over a picket fence in a cottage garden.

When you start to grow plants over more permanent garden features (like fences) you will begin to have a more established and mature feeling to your garden.

clematis on white picket fence
clematis climbing over white picket fence by putney pics

4) Pretty-up a chain link fence.

Chain link is cheap but it isn’t pretty. And sometimes you just have to work with what you have. Covering it up with a nice vine is a good option.

Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica 'Early Times' by jacki-dee viawww.pithandvigor.com
clematis sweet summer love in a container trained up a frame by rpoven winners via www.pithandvigor.com

5) Plant in a container and grow on a topiary frame.

This will work best when you follow the rule of thirds – in this case – make sure your climbing structure (and ultimately your plant) is at least 2/3 of the total height. So, if you have a 1′ tall pot – get a topiary frame that is 2′ tall.

6) Hide the mailbox.

Anything that is vertical in your garden can be a growing support… so why not turn utility into something amazing?

clematis hiding mailbox by Karen Cardoza via www.pithandvigor.com

7) Intertwine with another climber (like roses).

This isn’t very different than growing it through another shrub. But roses can be sturdy climbers themselves and when you achieve the double bloom look, I promise some gullible visitor will think this is all one amazing plant.

Clematis 'William Kennet', and Rosa 'Messire Delbard' by Klasse im Garten via www..pithandvigor.com

8) Frame a shed door.

yellow clematis and blue shed door
yellow clematis frames blue shed door

9) Cover an old ladder.

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard on a ladder
Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard on a ladder by shout it from the rooftops

10) Romantically dangle over a rustic shed.

romanic tangle of clemtis over a rustic shed by caroline via www.pithandvigor.

11) Train over a lamppost

(yes I know it isn’t actually on a lamppost – but you get the idea… p.s. is it actually growing on an apple tree, which is another bonus option).

clematis and lamp by erik forsberg via www.pithandvigor.com

12) Support it with a trellis or a downspout.

pink clematis on trellis by andrea_44 via. www.pitahndvigor.com

13) Surround a window with delicate stems.

white clematis trained around a window by Rolf Blijleven via www.pithandvigor.com

14) Engulf a front a pillar.

Clematis on a pillar by B.D.'s world via www.pithandvigor.com
Mottisfont Abbey in by ukgardenphotos via www.pithandvigor.com

15 & 16) Go crazy and let clematis scramble

Let it ramble through climbing roses and under-plant with herbaceous perennials to include peonies, poppies, foxgloves, campanulas, pinks, nepeta, lavender, foxtail lilies, and alchemilla (among many others). (like at Mottisfont Abbey in the UK).

clematis growing through roses and other garden plants
Royal National Rose Society Gardens – formerly known as ‘The Gardens of the Rose’ The vibrant colors of this display of roses, together with excellent companion plantings (such as lavender, clematis, grasses, etc.), highlights the wide color range, long flowering season, and versatility of roses as garden plants.

Just as soon as mine have grown enough to actually attach to their climbing frames (and I have found homes for each plant) I will share my own placements which include training over a pergola, covering a garage wall, and hiding part of the old chicken coop.  But have I missed anything? How do you grow your clematis?

images: jacki-dee (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), jacki-dee (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), putneypics (CC BY-NC 2.0), jacki-dee (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), Proven Winners,  Karen Cardoza (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), Klasse im Garten (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), peri stracchino (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), shout it from the rooftops (CC BY 2.0), caroline (CC BY 2.0), erik forsberg (CC BY 2.0), andrea_44 (CC BY 2.0),Rolf Blijleven CC BY-NC 2.0), B.D.’s WorldCC BY-NC 2.0), ukgardenphotos  (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0). 

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  1. Rachelle says:

    Just a couple, through a shrub or tree in English fashion (although difficult to train for best effect I have found), or in the cash of tube clematis, herclefolia, upright
    http://talking-to-plants.blogspot.com/2012/09/tube-clematis-china-blue.html.

  2. Paul W says:

    Happy to see so many plant combo options. I think it was Dan Hinkley who said/says “Vines and trellises did not co-evolve”.

  3. Abi says:

    Beautiful post and photos, had to RT! I have planning a clematis post for a while but waiting to get as many pics as this – they are one of the most exciting things to plant.

  4. Tammy says:

    I love your garden. It is bright and so beautiful. I’m inspired to plant some climbers in my garden. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures and your knowledge.
    Tammy in Tuskegee, Alabama

  5. G Sayers says:

    Love your clematis ideas…. I have also had the dilemma as to where to plant in a much smaller garden and had great success planting a Montana to climb up a blue Spruce tree and greater success with a Nelly Moser on a 5’ cedar tree stump eventually covering it like a swarm of bees … and ended up climbing further up into an adjacent magnolia tree.

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