Secrets to a Prime-Time Vine
The container pictured holds ‘H. F. Young’ clematis (Group II), ‘Diamond Frost’ euphorbia, torenia, and variegated ivy.
“Because there are early-, mid-, and late-blooming clematis, I have something flowering almost year-round,” she says. “One of my favorites is ‘Arabella’ (pictured), which makes a wonderful ground cover.”
- 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.
- Fertilize. Begin fertilizing in spring when new growth emerges and repeat once a month, stopping in fall. "I use organic fertilizer―anything labeled for roses or tomatoes is fine," Lyndy says. When planting them alone or in containers, Lyndy suggests staking them and tying the stems with twine for support.
- Hide the mess. Lyndy suggests that to prevent late-summer messiness from blooms, you should plant them near a shrub or tree; as leaves brown and fall off, they’re less noticeable. "I love the look of clematis rambling over shrubs, up trees, and even as a ground cover," she adds.
Note: If you are unsure which group you have, try this: Cut three to five stems back so that they are 2 feet long. Cut the rest back to 12 inches.