Easiest Clematis to take care of?

bgaviator(7)May 14, 2013

I have been considering ripping out the Variegated Porcelain Berry Vine I planted last year. I am not too happy with it. Within its first year it's lost all its variegation, and I don't think it's very interesting. I have it growing on a back wall with a trellis structure I made using an old wooden ladder that I cut into multiple sections, and have clear fishing line running across for additional support.
It's on an east wall of the house, so it gets morning sun, and will be decently shaded by late afternoon.
Here's the thing.....I want EASY! I get confused by the 3 different categories of Clematis.......I always try to plant things that are pretty maintenance free because I am doing this at my in-law's house....and they don't garden. Never have, never will. So I need something that I really don't have to do much with once it's planted. If no such Clematis exist, that's fine, I will look for other options. I have included a picture of the hillside with the trellis I made in the back. This picture was taken between 3-4pm I believe, and you can see how much shade the top part of the hill is getting now. Thanks.

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opheliathornvt zone 5

Rooguchi is my favorite no-muss clematis, although it does sometimes get mildew. That doesn't bother me, but it might bother others and might be worse for you than me, but it's that same purple as all those plants you show there, and blooms for a long time for me. It's pretty vigorous and pruning is simple - just whack it down to 6" or less every year.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:25AM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I find all clematis easy to grow if planted deeply in the spring or fall and given occasional fertilizer (I use alfalfa cubes) and pruned back late fall or early spring. Keep in mind they are slow growers and may take three years to have lots of blooms.
Young clematis occasionally have clematis wilt. Cut back the wilted stems and they will regrow. This has only happened to a few of the over 90 clematis that are growing in my gardens.

Any pruning type 3 is easy to care for, just cut it back close to the ground each spring or late fall after there is no chance of regrowth. They are also usually long blooming. My oldest, Mm Julia Correvon blooms from June until frost. Most viticellas are type 3 and long blooming though they are smaller flowers. Betty Corning is a type 2 that is long blooming and some say it is fragrant though it must be too subtle for my nose.

Type 2s are pruned to new growth in the spring though many people cut them back hard like type 3s. Fireworks is a type 2 that has a huge bloom in June and then lesser bloom throughout the summer and fall for me.

Mildew seems to be a problem in parts of the country that are warmer and more humid than my area. None of my clems have ever had mildew.

I think a light colored clematis would brighten up that area in the afternoon shade.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 1:30PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

No Clematis is maintenance free. They all require pruning.

Mildew totally disfigures some of mine.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 4:08PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I find all mine easy care and low maintenance. I mostly grow type 3 prune clematis that just need one pruning per year and don't seem affected by clematis wilt. One like Jackmanii has relatively large, prolific blooms and just needs that one late fall through early spring pruning. It's fairly common also, so should be easier to find. If I were you I would go to several large nurseries and see what clematis they have available, and choose any type 3 that has colors that will work for you in this area. It's hard to go wrong with type 3 IME.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 7:50AM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

I agree that the type 3s are easier, or at least less frustrating, than the 2s. I always vow I'm never buying any more 2s, but do I have any self-control? Nooooo...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 8:05AM
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bgaviator(7)

Thanks everyone! Just what I was looking for!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 2:54PM
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prachi(6b (NJ))

totally unrelated question... how did you make those garden beds... they look relatively simple to put up... I have a hillside that faces a forest and so I am looking for something relatively inexpensiive to set up so I can use the space (despite facing a fores it gets a lot of sun

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 3:44PM
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