Can I Grow Clematis in Southern CA?

Theodocia123(Sunset 18 SoCal)March 17, 2012

I live in Riverside County (Temecula, CA area), and nearby Lowe's is telling me they don't sell Clematis because they don't do well here. Has anyone in my area or Southern Ca had success with these lovely plants? I used to have such pretty ones when we lived in Tx.

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anotherlinda

Hello to a fellow Temeculite --
I'm new to Temecula but I'll give your question a shot. Do you have the Sunset Western Garden Book? It's a great resource for Californian gardeners. According to Sunset, Temecula is located in zone 18 and Clematis does "best" in zones 1-6, 15-17. Zones 15-17 share the coastal and marine influence. The book goes on to say the "roots need to be cool, tops in sun. Roots need regular moisture". Perhaps a trip to a stand-alone nursery closer to the coast is in order to locate some plants if you'd like to give them a try.
Linda

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Theodocia123(Sunset 18 SoCal)

Hi, Linda - Yes, Sunset W.G. Book is my plant bible :-). I'll do your suggestion next trip to Oceanside. Good idea.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 11:19AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I've had very good success with some cultivars, and not-so-good success with others. The best are the types with C. viticella in the mix. 'Wisley', 'Perle d'Azur', 'Etoile Violette', 'Venosa Violacaea', 'Jackmanii' have been excellent. The type IIs don't seem to do that well, nor do the ones with lots and lots of petals. What they want is loose, rich soil that stays constantly moist. Drying out is death.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2012 at 6:20PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

Ahhhh.

Yes, it's the no drying out part that I can't seem to get a handle on.

I recommend buying very large ones- they cost a lot of money, but they seem to take longer to die.

Thanks for the lovely photos, hoovb.

Renee

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 2:48AM
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Theodocia123(Sunset 18 SoCal)

Oh now I'm inspired!! Thank youuuuu.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 3:43PM
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eloise_ca

I grew Niobe for several years until I accidentally cut the base and never tried rooting some of it. The one thing I made sure was that the base of the vine is in shade. I planted Niobe behind a trellis with a Don Juan climbing rose and a gold and pink honeysuckle in front. They made a beautiful combo.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 3:50PM
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BloomingBug

Why don't you try the native chaparral clematis, Clematis lasianthus? You should be able to get it at Las Pilitas Nursery, which is just off I15 north of Escondido.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 5:27PM
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gotsomerice(Sunset 23)

What hoovb said is correct! I would stick with the C. viticella hybrids. The rest would not perform well in our climate.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2012 at 7:00PM
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Theodocia123(Sunset 18 SoCal)

Thank you all so much for your suggestions & the beautiful pictures. I definitely will visit that nursery in Escondido, but in the meantime I went to Armstrong's in Temecula and this lovely bloomer, Pink Champagne, was just begging to climb on my new arbor. I'm trying it in a 21" container (we have a gopher who thinks we've moved in with him rather than vice versa). I put a thick layer of mulch and pots to shade. It's on the North side of the house. Here's pix.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pink Champagne Clematis

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Theodocia123(Sunset 18 SoCal)

The reverse side of the bloom with the morning sun coming through it is almost as pretty as the front! Sigh.

Here is a link that might be useful: View from the Back

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:34PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

WOW! Thanks for the photos. Just beautiful. I have one large flowered variety, and it has two blooms now :)
Renee

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:19PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

They are difficult in pots in hot weather. They develop a large root system. The size of the root system is directly correlated to the size of the top growth and number of flowers. I have 'Pink Champagne' aka 'Hagley Hybrid'. It does moderately well. Don't let it dry out!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 11:44PM
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jenn(SoCal 9/19)

Aside from the native that BloomingBug mentioned, I agree that the viticellas are your best bet. We live in zone 19 (mid-upper 90s are common in summer). We grow:

Polish Spirit:

Minuet (foreground, planted in same hole with Polish Spirit):

Prince Charles:

Venosa Violacea:

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:15PM
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bunnymoonflowers(9 Sunset 18)

Wow I'm really surprised to see these Clematis pics! I tried growing them in Temecula with no luck...but I started with one gallons. I may take Renee's advice - the bigger the plant the longer it takes to die!! lol

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 3:13PM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

Thanks everyone for posting the great pictures and sharing your great insight
And tips for growing them. I want to try to grow one climbing up the white iceberg climbing rose that is growing over the front of my house. I had it planted next to the iceberg climber, in a large pot where I had removed the bottom. But it sounds like I may need to move it to a cooler spot and plant it in the ground behind the pot, where the roots will be shaded. The pot is on the south side of the house, so it gets all day sun. Hopefully it I'll do better once it is moved... Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 4:22AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

Robert Smaus advised to put a piece of flagstone on the soil to shade the root system, that a flagstone was effective in keeping the soil below cooler. Also mulch (not up next to the stems, a few inches away). I'd do that rather than moving the Clem. They are happier undisturbed, in my experience.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 2:50PM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

hoovb: Thanks for the advice on keeping the Clematis Roots cool.

Now this may sound like dumb question but, why wouldn't I want to add mulch up next to the stems?

Also, since it has such a big root system, will I have problems with it growing in the same pot as the climbing iceberg rose?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 4:35PM
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gardengal48

It's not so much an issue of keeping the roots cool as it is keeping them moist. Clematis do not like overly dry soils and shading or covering the soil around the plant reduces evaporation -- a shady area is far more moisture retentive than one in full sun, hence the "cool" myth. But even if grown in full sun with minimal mulching, as long as adequate irrigation is supplied, clematis will be happy.

Adding mulch right up to the stem of any plant is not advised. Since mulch helps to retain water, this can lead to overly moist areas and therefore rots if piled up next to stems or trunks.

There are some clematis better suited to container growth than others but most will produce root systems that make containering them long term very difficult. And I certainly would not recommend planting them in a container with another large-rooted plant like the climbing Iceberg rose.

If you want to expand your selection of good-for-hot-climates clematis, look for selection of C. texensis. Native to Texas, it holds up to hotter, drier conditions than just about ay other species. Look for 'Princess Diana', 'Gravetye Beauty', 'Duchess of Albany'. This is a small flowered clem (like most other species) but very carefree compared to the fussy hybrids.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 5:34PM
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CreatedToCook(CA 10a/SunsetZn. 22)

Gardengal48: Thank You for your advice and insight on growing Clematis. I will definitely look into the variety you suggested. I think the one I have is a Jackmanni or something like that. I tried planting 6 different varieties that I found at my local Lowes, but have never had much luck. I will give the warm weather variety you Suggested a try. Hopefully I will finally have some luck with growing these clematis.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 10:21PM
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