Best time to plant Clematis?

gardenbug(8b)March 5, 2009

Can anyone please tell me when the best time to plant Clematis would be in Zone 8? ~ Thanks.

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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Fall then Spring

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 2:46AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

In my zone, I definitely agree with BorS. Again, with you being in British Vancouver I have no idea what your summers are like. The reason that I prefer planting in the late summer/early fall is that the plants have a long time to get their roots established before the cold weather arrives. That way, the next spring they are better acclimated when the hot humid summers arrive. I do however plant them in spring as well--they just require more attention since they are not as established as when summer comes as ones planted in the fall.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 6:36AM
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gardenbug(8b)

Thank you for your help on this.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 12:17PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

We plant in fall out here so they can get the benefit of fall, winter and spring rain before our short dry summer.

Many spring plantings don't make it through their first summer.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 1:08PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

BorS, you should try growing things in my zone where the summer heat starts as early as the end of May and can run into October with minimal rain the entire period. How I wish this summer breaks the types of summer we have had the last couple of years. I would gladly swap a short dry summer with what we have to endure.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 6:42PM
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gardengal48

I'm gonna have to disagree with BorS on this one (and that may be a first!!). While there are some more ideal times to plant in this area, one can safely plant anything that is hardy at any time of year, provided the soil is workable. 'Workable' in this instance means not overly saturated as PNW zone 8 soils do not freeze. And obviously, if it the weather is too uncooperative for YOU to work comfortably out of doors (too cold, too wet, too hot), it's probably not a great time to plant, either.

I think the statement that "many spring plantings don't make it through their first summer" is overly pessimistic. I do landscaping professionally, have overseen the installation of countless new landscapes in my area in spring and there is no reason any local spring plantings should fail if they have been planted correctly in the first place and one waters accordingly. Although often quite dry, our summers are too short and too cool for this to be a major issue. Just remember to pay attention to the watering and mulch well.

I have personally planted clematis in my garden in virtually every month of the year with equal success. Failure is far more likely a result of incorrect planting techniques or improper aftercare than it is anything to do with any particular timing. btw, I just planted three new clematis this past week :-)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 7:57PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I wasn't trying to say that spring was awful, just that fall was better....

I haven't lost any spring planted clematis but I have lost many heaths, heathers, dwarf rhododendrons and others when spring planted. Unfortunately, nurseries have best stocks in spring.

It seems to heat up all at once. We go from 55* and raining to 90* and bone dry in one weekend. We did so last year in May and again in June and July. Sometimes it is very hard to keep up with the watering....

I do wish we had more sun and that the rain was more concentrated rather than a slow drizzle that lasts for days.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2009 at 8:22PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I tend to plant just about everything in fall. One reason is that everything is on sale at local nurseries. The second reason is as BorS says. The clematis I planted in fall 07 reached 6' with many blooms in summer 08. I doubt I would have seen that kind of progress with an April planting instead of an October planting. That six month head start for the roots, with no energy wasted on top growth, seems to be equal to a full year's growth.

This Venosa Violacea was over 6' and had 2 bloom cycles the first summer after planting.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2009 at 8:55AM
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michael_in_chicago(z5)

Fall is ideal for me in the midwest for similar reasons - they get established at a time when conditions are cool, moist and they are being signaled to go into dormancy, not to try to put on new growth. However if you water regularly, it matters less.

What I really want to know is - are Portland summers so short? I understand dry and sunny, but short? Maybe it's not my dream city after all (Stumptown Roasters and all).

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 4:31PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, Portland summers are short. It usually rains regularly until after the 4th of July and starts up again the end of September. May and June are usually very wet.

Spring is frustrating because it can be sunny but often not on weekends. It was nice all week and very cold and rainy today and supposed to snow. Snow this time of year isn't normal. If you work M-F it gets annoying to see the sun out the window but have it rain on weekends.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 7:14PM
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michael_in_chicago(z5)

Well, thanks for that information. I have loved Portland when I've visited and wondered what it would be like to relocate there. Your description of the weather probably would drive me crazy, though midwest winters are pretty hard as well.

One of the workers at the Rogerson Clematis Collection joked that the state flower should be the green tomato...hinting at the short, cool summers, I suppose? I suppose the sentiment is better understood by the locals.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 7:51PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, green tomatoes. We have to plant short season varieties that have a chance to mature here. Early Girl and those developed for here like Oregon Spring and Willamette. Beefsteaks won't ripen.

Portland is great to visit. Growing up in Phoenix, I miss the sun. We only average something like ten days over 80* here though we do not usually have deep snow.

My friends in PA have waterlily blooms two months earlier than I do.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2009 at 11:32PM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

Fall is a wonderful time to plant in my zone 8B because I don't have to worry about it being too hot and I have more rainfall..BUT, I do plant in Feb. and March while it is cooler weather and fortunately I have a sprinkler system to aid in my keeping them moist...I, like Gardengal have planted all through the growing season BUT am anal about keeping them moist by daily going out and sticking my finger in the soil around my clematis and if the least bit drier..I water and water well...Jeanne

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 9:32AM
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gardengal48

Since the topic came up........:-) Weather in the PNW is definitely an acquired taste - you either love it or you don't. I personally think the weather here is pretty much ideal - one can garden virtually year round, it is seldom too cold (although it can get cold, it's never bone chilling like many parts of the Midwest), it's never too hot, we don't have high humidity and associated problems, we get snow but not excessive amounts. And our zone 8 climate welcomes and encourages one of the widest possible ranges of plant choices - not much doesn't grow here and grow well. The drawbacks are that winters (read rainy season) are long and uniformly gray - SAD can be an issue for many. But rainfall in general is light - average annual rainfall in most areas is well below many other parts of the country. We just get a little bit over a very extended period of time :-)

But when the sun does shine - and it does more than one expects - this area is spectacular. Much of it has to do with just its natural scenic beauty, but a good day in the PNW is unsurpassed by anywhere else I have ever visited and I've been everywhere in the US except for the deep South. Summers may be short but fall - indian summer - tends to be long and wonderfully pleasant. I consider September into early November to be some of the best months of the year.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 12:15PM
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SweetPea1961(8)

So, Gardengal, I am south of you in the Umpqua Valley. Just came to this site to see if I should plant clematis this fall. Looks like I can go ahead and plant away, right?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 6:27PM
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gardengal48

Sweetpea, you are quite a bit south of me :-)) But I would go ahead and plant now. Root growth is very active in fall and will continue until the soil becomes too cold (~40F). The only concern is to overlook any watering needs in fall or winter - if very dry, irrigate as necessary (not a concern in my neck of the woods!)

By spring, your vine should be well on its way.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2014 at 11:29AM
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