What’s the Fuss About Clematis ‘Roguchi’? Exploring Its Rising Fame and Enduring Charm

March 19, 2024

Saturday we had temperatures in the low 50’s with sunshine here along the Maine coast. It has been months since the air was so warm. This teaser for spring had everyone out, excited to know that longer, warmer days are in our future.

Today, a friend sent me a picture from New Orleans. They wanted to know if I knew a flowering vine they had found on a fence near their winter home. Ok, several things to rub in this cold winter: 1) winter home in New Orleans and 2) they already have flowering vines! The flower looks like a gorgeous clematis. Now, if Mother Nature could get back to business up here in Maine, we could have some flowering vines before, say, September.

The dark buds and deep purple blue flower sof Clematis Roguchi
The bell-shaped flowers of clematis rooguchi (also known as clematis integrifolia ‘roguchi) are an icy lavender color to a deep purple color.  This is a lovely plant that is deer-resistant and one of the longest-blooming clematis.  

Seeing my friend’s picture of a clematis reminded me of a striking and unusual clematis that we grow in our Alfond Children’s Garden at Coastal Maine Botanical Garden.

Growing on an arched trellis is Clematis ‘Roguchi.’ During my first summer at CMBG, I had several guests pull me by the arm and show me the puckered, bluish-purple flowers and ask “what is it?”

Without fail, when I told them it was a clematis, they would respond, “No!”

The nodding, bell-like flowers are a deep purple (many people are used to seeing them in a more bluish color).

Since we have a fairy village at CMBG, I like to imagine that these are the skirts that the fairy ladies wear to their summer formal events.

clematis roguchi bell shaped purple flowers
Rooguchi clematis is a free flowering variety that is a favorite clematis among people who have grown it. It thrives in a wide variety of conditions and hardiness zones.  As a perennial plant, it will die back to the ground each winter and, during the growing season, will generally reach about 6 ft in height.  the bell-shaped blooms are beautiful when they are trained to creep through other small shrubs and and plants. 

Clematis ‘Roguchi’ is a hybrid of C. integrifolia and C. durandii. The growth habit is that of a perennial, dying back to the ground each winter.

Once spring comes, Roguchi clematis twines out of the soil to reach a height of 4-6′ by autumn. In Maine, our plants start to flower in mid-summer, just as most of our guests start to visit. We have our plants growing in full sun in rich soil amended with compost.

Companion Planting ideas for Clematis Roguchi

Pale yellow roses in bloom, nestled among purple Roguchi clematis flowers and green foliage.
Rosa ‘Jude the Obscure’ with clematis roguchi twining though it are a pretty yellow and purple combination. Both of these plants make great cut flowers. image by scarlettandjoy.
A lush green meadow with blooming purple flowers, including the captivating roguchi clematis, and a variety of plants.
Clematis x integrifolia ‘Rooguchi’ scrambles over and through a variety of other perennials to create a wild beauty in a rambunctious meadow. Image found via coyotewillow taken by @huw_._morgan.

Here’s to spring! Here’s to the changing of seasons and getting back to the business of life and gardening. I optimistically know that all of this melting snow and rain is going to provide ample moisture to give us a summer full of clematis flowers. 

Are you growing clematis in your garden?


Images: Val EastonPortland Monthly Magazine

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