Suggestions for clems in Colorado

treebarb Z5 DenverFebruary 21, 2010

I've searched the older threads and not found much recent on varieties that will do well in my zone. I'm 30 miles north of Denver, about 5,600 ft. altitude. My soil is clay, alkaline loam with a ph of 7.9. We normally get about 13 inches of precip. a year, but got 26 inches last year. There doesn't seem to be a "normal" year anymore. We had been in drought conditions from 04 to 08. Most of the property is full sun, so I'll probably have to use retaining wall block or landscape timbers to "keep their feet in the shade". I don't mind amending the soil with peat and compost, but would prefer to choose a variety or two that tolerates my soil. The clems would mostly be paired with pink roses. Can you offer me any suggestions?



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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Barb, your biggest issue with growing clematis in your zone is not the soil but rather the scant amount of rainfall that you get. That is easily overcome by watering them as they need, especially when the weather is hot and dry. Amend the soil with some organic matter and mulch the areas well. Contrary to popular opinion, clematis don't necessarily like cool feet, they like consistent moisture which normally occurs with the cool root runs you get when you mulch the ground. Mulch them well and keep them watered and you could grow most of the clematis out there except perhaps for the montanas.

I am not a rose person but you might want to let people know what type of rose you have so that you can plant a clematis that will take the pruning regimen that will work out for your rose. I will let others who know more about roses to make the suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 6:34AM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Nckvilledudes, thanks for the response. Good point about the rose types. I have mostly Old Garden roses, the clems will be paired with an Awakening climber, a very pale pink, almost white, and Harlekin, a bright pink with a white center. There are 2 Austin Mary roses, a Mountain Mignonette and a Midnight blue rose in the immediate vicinity. Thanks for letting me know they want consistent moisture. I'll steer clear of Montanas.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 8:29PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Barb, there are some people who can grow montanas in zone 5 and have posted some wonderful pictures of them. The issue with them in the colder zones is that often the plant can freeze back to the ground each winter or the flower buds will be frozen and not develop. Since montanas bloom on old wood, the result would be a montana that you never had flowers on. As I said, some people in zone 5 do have protected spots or microclimates in their gardens where the montanas do flourish and flower but you would have to find a protected spot that would allow this. Hence my recommendation to steer clear of the montanas.

Hopefully one of the people who coplant roses and clematis together will chime in and give you some advice as to what types of clematis will work with your roses. I don't grow roses although I have ordered Ebb Tide for delivery this spring.

The bottom line is that if you have to prune your roses back in the late winter/early spring, you would probably want to plant type III clematis with them since they would similarly have to be pruned back and since they bloom on new wood, you wouldn't be sacrificing the clematis blooms by the pruning. If the roses are the type that don't need pruning you could plant type I or II clematis with them since they bloom on old wood and not having to prune the clematis back wouldn't cut off the blooms formed on the previous year's growth.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 7:00AM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Most of the roses I want to plant clematis with were planted last summer and fall. It looks like I'll need to prune them back about a third. I will look into the type III. I really appreciate the info.
I've admired Ebb Tide and it's been recommended by posters on the rose forums. I'm sure you'll enjoy that rose.
Thanks again, Dudes!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2010 at 10:19PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

No problem Barb.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 6:18AM
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I would just like to vouch for the recommendation from nckvlledudes. I purchased a montana clematis a few years ago and have had the exact experience they describe. It dies back each winter, but I have never gotten even one bloom!!! Re: pairings with pink roses: I have a jackmanii superba paired with a John Davis climbing rose. Two of my friends and I went to a garden tour in 2005 and one of the gardeners had this combination on an arch near her pond. All three of us went out and bought the same combination it was so impressive!!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2010 at 6:39PM
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treebarb Z5 Denver

Thanks dream gardener. I was looking at a jackmanii or Etoile. They are beautiful!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2010 at 11:16PM
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