PLANTS for clematis to grow on, over & through?

sweetpea_path(Z8 WA maritime)April 8, 2009

I'm putting in a new garden this year -- from scratch -- gulp. Since I'm mad for clematis, I'm trying to plan for all sorts of different locations to plant them.

Years ago, I saw how the English used them in their gardens, which was to grow them ON all sorts of different shrubs, dead tree trunks, etc. But that was so long ago I can't remember now what any of the shrubs were. Since I've basically got a blank slate here, I thought it might be **wise** to think ahead and get those shrubs in for the sole purpose of growing clems on them. Suggestions please!

Many thanks in advance.

Sweetpea

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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

The list would be limitless as far as what types of shrubs, trees, and low growing evergreens that you could train clematis to grow through. I have them growing on Blue Pacific junipers, up a styrax tree, up a japanese maple tree, up a red bud tree...you are limited only by your imagination. I am sure others who grow clematis in this manner will chime in with their suggestions.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 4:37AM
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gardengal48

I'll chime in only to repeat exactly what Miguel has said :-) Your choices are only limited by the type of clematis and on its expected size - it works best if the tree/shrub will easily support the vine without becoming overwhelmed by it. I have clematis growing up/through a smokebush, an apple tree, a lilac, a weigela, a clerodendron (Harlequin glorybower), several viburnum, assorted roses and a couple of dwarfish conifers. And a witch hazel :-) And then there are several integrifolia/heracleifolia types that are allowed to ramble at will through assorted perennial plantings.

I especially like to use them on flowering deciduous shrubs, most of which tend to bloom early season. This extends the visual interest of the shrub much longer into the season (when it would typically be a green lump) and because they are deciduous, it makes it very easy to prune the clematis in late winter as necessary.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 10:40AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

May I request photos of Clems growing through shrubs/trees? Most photos are close ups of the flowers and I'd like to see how the vines get into the shrubs and trees. I'm not having a lot of luck growing Clems into shrubs and trees. They want to trail on the ground rather than up into the host plant. I'm totally out of hardscape and places to put them other than trees and shrubs.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 12:13PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Don't have any pictures except closeups showing the flowers in the trees. I know I have posted the same photos here in the past so am not going to take the time hunting for them in my huge archive of photos on photobucket. You can if you want to but like I said most are of the flowers in the trees. I know of several others who have posted pictures of the same thing in the past. The vines simply twine themselves up the trunks of the trees or grab onto lower branches. Once the trees get large enough, some sort of support will be needed when the trunks get to large to twine around or for them to reach the lower branches of the trees. A simple solution would be to put a cane or garden stake near the clematis and allow the vines to climb that to reach the lower branches of the tree. Another option for a tree with a huge trunk would be to put some sort of netting around the trunk to allow the clematis to grab onto so it could reach up the trunk and potentially to the branches.

My Alionushka sort of snakes its vines up the trunk of the red japanese maple until it reaches branches and then starts crawling amongst them. For me, I have even had Alionushka, which is supposed to be a nontwining clematis, wrap its petioles around the smaller stems and affix itself to the branches.

The process is even easier for bushes since the grasping nature of the vines allows them to catch hold of any low branch on a bush and grow towards the light.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 5:15PM
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michael_in_chicago(z5)

I would avoid magnolias and shrubs that sucker like oakleaf hydrangeas. They form thick root masses that eventually make their way to the clematis roots and out compete them. I still have some in these situations, but they don't perform as well.

I second or third the suggestion for spring-blooming shrubs. Peonies, viburnums and rhodo/azaleas are great, as are any conifer. Let's not forget roses as well.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 9:58AM
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alina_1

A follow up questions:

Michael, do only oakleaf Hydrangeas have this type of root system? Is it OK to plant Clematis next to macrophylla or arborescens?

Also, did you mean tree Peonies? If you meant herbaceous Peonies, how do you grow Clematis over them?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 10:40AM
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michael_in_chicago(z5)

Alina. That's a good question. My Hydrangea quercifolia sends out tons of suckers, but none of my others do (macrophylla, arborescens, etc.), so I think you're safe there. In fact I have a number of clematis planted to weave into different H. paniculata cultivars and have had no problems (or suckers).

Peonies - I have both types with clematis. With herbaceous peonies, I use clematis that you cut to the ground each year. I plant the clematis 12+" from the peony stems and just guide it into the plant (further away would be better). The peony comes up before the clematis does, so this isn't hard.

Then I can wind it around the peony as it grows, or let it wander where it wants (much easier). The clematis bloom after the peony is deadheaded. It's even better with 2 or 3 clematis, for a nice contrast or longer bloom period. I just like it because the peony makes such a beautiful form as a background for the clematis flowers, and you don't see much of the clem stems.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 2:23PM
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alina_1

Thanks for great ideas Michael! I have many Hydrangeas and Peonies (of all types) in my garden and tons of ordered Clematis coming. I've never thought of Peonies as of possible Clematis support.
Do you have any pictures of these combinations?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 3:33PM
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michael_in_chicago(z5)

Strangely, I don't. I've been pretty bad about taking pictures recently. I figure everyone's seen it all by now, which is silly. None of my clematis bloom at the same time as the peonies, except the flowers are still on Hydrangea 'Pink Diamond' when I sometimes get a second flush of Hagley Hybrid. It's actually quite pretty, and not a single picture.

Share some with us this season!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 6:51PM
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alina_1

Please take pictures this summer! That should look beautiful!
So you have a successful experience of growing Clematis on H. paniculata... Good to know. I have one H. paniculata - 'Quick Fire'. Will definitely plant some Clematis next to it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 8:43PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

I plant clematis on viburnums. In the picture below, a first-year Venosa Violacea climbs a Judd Viburnum on the left (rear) and a second year Gypsy climbs another Judd on the right.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 9:07AM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

That's Gypsy Queen on the right. I think.

Vuburnums make good support trees for clematis because they bloom in April while the clem is about a foot tall. They are also very sturdy and seem to handle the weight quite easily. And the foliage blends right in.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 3:15PM
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sweetpea_path(Z8 WA maritime)

THANK YOU so much everybody, for the inspiring ideas!

I've added some additional shrubs to my list now -- especially viburnums (who knew?!) -- and I'm very exciting to watch this garden take shape with more "homes" for clematis.

I'm also intrigued by the idea of using peonies as supports for the clems that are cut to the ground each year...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:37PM
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flowerfan2(z8/ WA)

Hi Sweepea, another PNW gardener who has the clematis bug, how nice! Clematis grow so well in our climate. If you use different varieties from the different pruning groups you can have clematis blooming from March until frost. I grow clematis through a lot of shrubs and trees also. Ones that have worked well for me our dogwoods, vine maples, viburnums, plums, arborvitae, spruce, doug firs, japanese maples, junipers, and other vines like honeysuckle and jasmine. The only 2 that didn't do well for me were eldeberry and Katsura. The eldeberry branches were so brittle that the shrub would break under the weight of the vine. The Kasura canopy was so dense that the flowers wouldn't show. So you might keep that in mind also. Good luck with your garden. Here's a montana in a plum tree. Karen

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 12:08AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I'm trying to get 'Inspiration' into a 'Miss Kim' lilac. I planted it behind the lilac so it would grow through to the sun but it wants to creep along the ground instead. I left it longer when I pruned it back rather than to the ground but that hasn't helped.

I planted 'Gazelle' between two 'Crimson Pygmy' barberries. It is too young to have done much but I hope it will sprawl over them. I have 'Juuli' sprawling over one too and it requires me to carefully train it or it flops to the ground.

I tried 'Durandii' between two roses but it also flopped to the ground instead. I think it would do better on an obelisk since it likes to grow straight up and bloom at the ends.

I have two tanguticas trained up copper pipes to get into deciduous trees but I didn't choose very well. 'Grace' has such tiny blooms you can't see them and 'Bill MacKenzie' likely isn't BMK and is growing more wide than tall.

I planted 'no id' viticella and viticella 'alba luxurians' next to my boxwood hedge last year. Too soon to see if they will grab on and grow up it. I hope so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Juuli on Barberry

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 11:46AM
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PRO
Propaganda Garden Design

My favorite combo in my old garden was a purple Cotinus with Huldine growing up it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 2:33AM
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prairiegirlz5

Ooh, that sounds pretty with the burgundy leaves! So glad I checked in here, I just got my first clemmies last summer (after they bloomed) and yesterday I got my first blooms on Guernsey Cream!

It was overwintered on our unheated, sunny front porch, lightly watered (almost bone dry, he he) and the blooms are palest green!! I love it, lots of swollen buds. I put it outside last night, hope it makes it, I thought it was supposed to be "late". I do have a purple smokebush...maybe it's new home? The smokebush (no leaves yet this year)is pretty small, and I plan to keep it short. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Also, Niobe was planted in the garden. It's much smaller, not much more than a stem now, will it bloom this year (when)? Thinking maybe I should pop it back into a pot so it has a better chance of getting established, and I can see it's true color.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 8:48AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Has anyone planted clematis to cover yews? I have been slowly removing the yews in my garden as they get brown from winter kill.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 12:23PM
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sweetpea_path(Z8 WA maritime)

I am LOVING all the photos - GREAT to have a visual - so thanks a lot for posting them! and oooohh, clematis on a cotinus, hadn't thought of that. I've actually got a 2-gallon cotinus 'Grace' that's ready to go in the ground (when the spot is prepared). How to choose WHICH clem to grow on her????? The choices are overwhelming, but I guess it doesn't matter, just pick one, right?! Not a montana tho, a more "tame" variety... I just looked up 'Huldine' and that looks like a very good choice.

I've got an ornamental purple-leaved grape planted at the base of a pergola. I thought it might be fun to plant a tangutica 'Golden Tiara' with it -- what do you all think?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 2:24PM
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flowerfan2(z8/ WA)

Hi sweet pea, most of the type 3's get 12-15 feet tall or larger out here in the PNW. I think Huldine and Golden tiara would get too large for those 2. Most purple leaved grapes stay fairly small maybe 6'. Most tangutica get big and would overwhelm the vine. My Huldine easily climbs a 20 cedar hedge, so it would overwhelm your smokebush. You might want something smaller like Piilu for you smokebush, and maybe Aljonushka or something similar for your purple grape vine. Here's Huldine climbing a hedge. Karen

    Bookmark   April 17, 2009 at 11:07PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Does she grip and climb the conifer all by herself? Love the idea of covering the neighbor's that line our property with Clemmies...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 8:54PM
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flowerfan2(z8/ WA)

Yes Buyorsell888, she climbs it all by herself.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:07PM
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alina_1

Karen, could you please post a picture of your Huldine from a distance (not close up)? I also like the idea of Clematis climbing conifers.
Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 10:13PM
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flowerfan2(z8/ WA)

Hi Alina, here are a couple of photos of Huldine climbing the hedge. They are not the greatest shots. Karen

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 11:36PM
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alina_1

Thanks Karen, that looks good! I guess my Arborvitae will work as a Clematis support as well :)
Thanks everyone for wonderful ideas and great pictures!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 11:52PM
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alina_1

Karen, one more question: how far from the Arborvitae's trunk is Clematis planted?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 8:58AM
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sweetpea_path(Z8 WA maritime)

WOW, Karen, great photos of your hedge climber! Really helps to give a good idea of what that clem is capable of -- THANKS for posting.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 2:15PM
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flowerfan2(z8/ WA)

Hi Alina, it is planted 6-12 inches from the tree. It will need exta water as the shrubs roots will compete with the clematis roots.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:29PM
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alina_1

Thanks Karen,
That is even closer that I wanted to plant them! Nice to know. I think that they will establish nicely eventually because Arborvitae have shallow roots.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 10:18AM
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Suzapruner

Hi - My C. tangutica climbs up out of a very large trough onto my deck railing and also the nearby blue spruce. The effect is lovely. The vine is vigorous yet not overpowering as the leaves and flowers are so dainty and delicate. Also plan on having a yellow climbing rose on other side of spruce.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:08PM
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