Clematis for my Pergola?

gardenbug(8b)January 12, 2009

I have a pergola in my backyard along the top of a fence (about 5' x 30ft and I want to plant a clematis but I never planted one before and not sure what to do. Do I buy more than one plant? What size pot? This area gets afternoon sun.. south/western exposure. The south side has tall cedar hedges along it which provides a bit of shade closer to that edge in the afternoon. I want something that will look good with a white fence. Not pastels, something bold? I like purples, blues, mixed with white. I'm in BC Canada, Zone 8a. I'm not an avid gardener so I need something that is easy to care for, fairly fast grower and not too invasive. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thank you very much.

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I'm a little confused about the measurements.....are you meaning a 5' height above the fence and a 30' length? More of a trellis effect (a pergola is really more of a free-standing, overhead structure)? How tall is the fence? A bit of clarification would be helpful :-))

Going on the first assumption, you could plant several (3-5) Group 3 vines along the length that would provide an extended season of color. 'Gypsy Queen' and 'Etoile Violette' are two deep purple selections that are extremely floriferous. 'Huldine' is an excellent white choice. But there are other Group 3's in deep pinks/reds or blues to choose from. Group 3's are generally pruned back hard annually in early spring but grow back rapidly. They also tend to be a bit easier for the beginner with less chance of wilt than most of the Group 2's or earlier blooming choices.

Alternatively, you could select Clematis armandii, an evergreen choice that flowers in early spring with a profusion of white (sometimes pale pink), fragrant blossoms. These are big, very vigorous vines so one at either end of your structure would suffice. They also require no pruning. Sweet autumn clematis (C. ternifolia) would be another choice but not evergreen and with a late summer/early fall bloom. Also a big, very robust vine so only two, one at either end, suggested.

And to respond to your somewhat broader question posted on the NW Gardening forum, clematis is certainly not your only choice for a vine for this situation. Honeysuckle, passionflower or star jasmine could work equally as well.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 11:05AM
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Hi Garden Gal, thankyou for your helpful advice. I'm going to go and google some of these so I will know what they look like. Okay, I'm a beginner so I will select Group 3 if I go with Clematis. Do clematis like lots of sun?

I'm sorry I really wasn't too clear. Okay, the fence itself is about 5'tall and the pergola is above it. I don't have a photo of it but it's white and resembles something like in this link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Pergola/Fence

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 12:58PM
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Oh, it's more like this one only white.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 1:03PM
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cnetter(z5 Co)

Do you like this one? It's easy and gets big and is a nice bright purple. It's a type three, so needs to be cut back every year. It's Jackmanii, which is an easy variety to find.

Another easy one that I recently got that is a redder purple with smaller flowers is Polish spirit. It was very vigorous and bloomed quite a bit right from the start and even a small cutting from it bloomed.

Are you sure you don't want to grow grapes on that gorgeous pergola?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 1:35PM
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Hi cnetter,
Your clematis is stunning. Wow, gorgeous color. Thanks for sharing your photo. I would love to see those blooms all over my pergola.
I'm not sure about a grapevine. Hmmm...I think growing a grapevine might be somewhat difficult? I wouldn't know the first thing about pruning one. It's certainly something for me to think about and maybe do some research. It would look awesome though.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 3:06PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

I would go for any of the montanas which can easily cover your pergola and not require any pruning except for removal of any dead wood and to contain their size. I think the pergola would look wonderful covered with them. There is a lady named Penny Vogel whose garden is featured in Linda Buetler's clematis book and she has several pergola structures covered in montana clematis and they look smashing. Most montanas however tend to be white or various shades of pink but the pink ones would pop against that structure.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 4:18PM
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nckvilledudes, Thanks very much. Montana sounds very pretty too. Could I select a couple of clematis's in in purple and another one in white? Would that work? I guess I should stay with the same Group?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 6:37PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

I would stay within the same group, especially if you are going to try any of the montanas. I treat all my type IIs as IIIs so if you go for them you could mix those two types.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 6:57PM
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I think a montana is a great choice for this type of structure and for your area. I would have suggested one of these as well, but they do tend to have pale flower colors, generally in shades of pink :-) They are extremely floriferous in bloom and very beautiful but not exactly what I'd consider a "bold" color.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 7:16PM
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Thank you GardenGal and everyone else. You've all been really helpful to me. I looked up the Montana and it is really pretty. Now I have lots of choices.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2009 at 11:46AM
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