Create shade. Although "shady roots, sunny vines" is a good rule of thumb, when it comes to clematis such as the Alabama leather flower (pictured), Lyndy says to "create your own shade by mulching or planting on the shaded side of a shrub."
Don't plant too deep. Ignore advice to plant clematis deep in the ground. "In the South... heavy clay can cause roots to rot," Lyndy says. Plant in well-drained soil - the crown (where the roots join the stem) should be just aboveground. And always amend the soil with plenty of organic matter.