The clematis represent an apia group of shrubs or small plants, often climbing plants, widespread in most of the northern hemisphere, in areas with a temperate climate; there are several dozen botanical species, ranging from the large evergreen climbing shrub, to small herbaceous species, which dry up completely during the winter. The clematis that we find most easily in the nursery are hybrids of European and Asian species, cultivated and selected for the peculiar characteristics of their flowers.
All the clematis have very particular flowers, the most striking part of them are in fact the sepals, colored like large petals, which enclose at their center some thick stamens; in botanical species the sepals are generally 4-5, but we have hybrids with 5-7 sepals, and also double or stradoppi.
When the flower withers the plant produces a particular infructescence, constituted by a sphere of small seeds covered by a thin hair and provided with a long tail; therefore also in seed they give us a graceful and pleasant aspect.
We grow clematis
As we said, most of the clematis available in the nursery are hybrids, deciduous, often simply herbaceous; they are characterized by large colored flowers, generally in shades of blue, pink and violet, which bloom from the beginning of spring to the end of summer.
They produce thin semi-woody stems, which bear numerous large, dark green leaves, with long tendrils at the base, with which the plant supports itself with branches, sticks and trellises.
During the winter these plants tend to dry out most of the aerial part, and in a single vegetative season they can produce up to a couple of meters of branches, covering themselves with flowers in several times. They can be grown in all areas of Italy, even where winter is quite harsh, remembering to place them in a sheltered place if we live in the north, and in a slightly shady place if we live in the south.
These plants in fact fear the winds, especially the winter ones, which can freeze the thin branches, causing the total desiccation of the aerial part of the plant; this does not always lead to the death of clematis, except that in spring, the plant must "rebuild itself" completely, often at the expense of flowering. These plants do not even like excessive summer heat, so often in very hot and dry areas in summer the plant will tend not to produce flowers, depriving us of the most decorative part of the plant.
Poniamole to stay in pot or in full ground, using a good fresh and rich soil, slightly calcareous, very well drained; the rule to keep in mind when placing them in the garden is to keep our clematis with feet cool and head to the sun: position them so as to keep the soil at the base of their stem always fresh and away from direct sunlight, but with branches in the sun, to encourage flowering.
This is done by simply placing our own clematis at the base of a low wall, near low shrubs, near the hedge, or we cover the base with a thick layer of mulching material, such as bark, shards, leaves, in order to guarantee a fresh soil above the thin roots.
The waterings will be supplied starting from when the plant begins to sprout, until the autumn; avoid leaving the plant for long periods of time completely dry, but also excessively soaking the soil: we water only when the substratum is dry, providing good fertilizer for flowering plants, at least every 12-15 days. If we want to avoid fertilizing the plant often, every 2-3 months we spread around the stem of slow release granular fertilizer.
To obtain a luxuriant and well-developed plant we also remember to provide good support, such as a trellis, a bamboo scaffold, a hedge, a wall; in this way the plant can unfold its long branches; furthermore we will avoid the thin stems being broken by the strong wind at the first summer storm.
The "other" clematis
About 250 species of plants belong to the clematis genus, most of which produce large decorative flowers; not all of them are available in the nursery, but some of them are instead very easy to find.
It is a widespread plant throughout the Alps, a vigorous climber, which bears large flowers in spring with light blue sepals. It is difficult to grow in the garden, we can admire the blooms in the alpine woods.
one of the most ample and vigorous clematis, produces large climbing shrubs, which produce a beautiful candid white flowering, in late spring, with delicately scented buds; these plants are pruned after flowering, in order to remove the branches damaged during the winter; it often happens that some branches of the plant in a short period of time will unseal, if this happens we will remove them starting from the base, in order to promote the development of new branches.
Evergreen clematis, spring-flowering, climbing. Of easy cultivation, we also place this clematis with feet cool and head in the sun, it will give us splendid blooms.
Clematis - Clematis: Clematis tangutica
deciduous clematis, quite vigorous; blooms in midsummer, bringing campanulate flowers of golden yellow color.
There are dozens of other clematis, some are also medium-growing herbaceous, which are grown as ground cover plants.