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16 Unique Garden Ideas for How to Grow a beautiful Clematis Vine

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Something went wrong (in the best way) when I recently ordered a few clematis vines to add to my garden. I was in the mood to add a few fantastic climbing vines to my garden. I was expecting 4 plants. But when the boxes arrived, I somehow got 16 (this is obviously not a complaint, just a statement of oopsy fact).  

With eight Clematis Diamond Ball (which is a beautiful double white/ light blue clematis) and eight Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’ (which is a dark purple clematis), I struggled to find homes for all of them.  After I planted three of the ‘Sweet Summer Love’ (and worked out places for 3 more) I still had 10 plants! (and all the Diamond Balls). I realized I needed to do some removal of other plants and bed prep to make room for the rest. But even after that, I still need to create a home for at least 5 more.

With over a quarter of the plants left, I started 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 16 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 Clematis vine 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
The simple blue flower of clematis ‘jackmanii’ is held up by a potted grass.

2) Train your clematis vines on a staircase railing.

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
Large burgundy flowers are similar to clematis ‘Niobe’.

3) Grow climbers like clematis over a picket fence in a cottage garden.

When you start to grow plants over more permanent garden features (like fences) you will anchor your design. It will give your planting design a more established and mature feeling in your garden.

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

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 clematis vine is a good option.

Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica 'Early Times' by jacki-dee viawww.pithandvigor.com
Clematis Roguchi varieties are know for their flared bell shaped flowers. The white nodding bells of Clematis ‘Winter Beauty’ look a lot like the variety pictured.

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. (This includes the height of your container). So, if you have a 1′ tall pot – get a topiary frame that is 2′ tall (for a 2/3 – 1/3 ratio). (maybe consider growing it into a spiral shape?)

clematis sweet summer love in a container trained up a frame by rpoven winners via www.pithandvigor.com

6) Hide the mailbox with a climbing flower vine

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 a dainty clematis vine 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 and you can bask in that coveted good gardener glory. 😉

Clematis 'William Kennet', and Rosa 'Messire Delbard' by Klasse im Garten via www..pithandvigor.com
Clematis ‘William Kennet’ grows through a red climbing rose.

8) Frame a shed door.

yellow clematis and blue shed door
Clematis tangutica is known for its yellow flowers and fluffy seed heads. The yellow flowers are a perfect contrast and frame for this blue door.

9) Cover an old ladder.

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard on a ladder
The pretty pink Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard on a ladder by shout it from the rooftops.

10) Romantically dangle flowering vines over a rustic shed.

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

11) Train flowering clematis vines 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 climbing flower vines with a trellis or a downspout.

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

Nelly Moser Clematis sits along side a similarly pink rhododendron.

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 clematis 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 and where do you grow your clematis?

Other Clematis Garden Posts you might enjoy:

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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You can grow clematis in lots of ways!

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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

  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.

  6. Ginene Nagel says:

    Thank you for this post. I wanted to see what Clematis would look like growing on my front porch and this showed it perfectly.

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