Clematis coexist with large juniper?

seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)June 21, 2009


I have two large golden juniper in my sunny front yard that are at least 15 years old and about 3 feet tall by 3.5 feet wide. I just bought two Clematis vines (I've never had any before). One is a Niobe and the other is a Jackman (I think). If I planted them in front of the junipers would they do well together? I would like them to climb the junipers. I seldom prune the junipers and don't mind if they are "shaggy". I'm in zone 5 (SE Michigan). Thanks!

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If you don't mind them being shaggy, is it safe to assume you don't care if they are yellow as well? 99.9% of conifers need sun in order to remain yellow. Some cultivars stay yellow all year & others only have their spring flush yellow before turning green. If it is one that stays yellow all year, they definately won't be yellow any more. If it is the kind thay only spring growth is yellow your Jackmanii (prune group 3) would work. Niobe is a prune type 2 & personally wouldn't plant one on a conifer, you will be seeing dead vines on a conifer all winter which defeats the purpose of having a conifer for winter interest. Some people treat type 2's as type 3's & if you take that approach it would work as well.

Cripes, I must be tired...I must of read the measurements on the juniper wrong. I just reread it & not changing the above because of the conifer aspect. I will have to say 3x3.5 is pretty small to be growing both of those on, they will turn into groundcover, which is Ok if you want that look. If it was me I'd prefer planting intregrifolias with them.

If you decide that dead looking vines is a problem in your mind, someone else will need to come along & verify that pruning those down in fall vs. spring will be OK in your zone. So far all of my intregrifolias have died back to the crown here & would be confident removing them in the fall. I also have removed a type 3 to soil level in fall & have not had a problem. I hope others will chime in to verify this with their experiences for you.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:50PM
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seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)

Thanks lalalandwi! The clematis are little so far so maybe I could put a trellis up in front of the junipers. I suspect the clematis will die back to the ground each year in my region but I will re-read your thoughtful post and look up 'intregrifolia', etc. Maybe the trellis in front of the junipers will buy me some time to see what happens next spring. I have an English ivy that completely blankets my yew every summer. I cut the ivy back in the fall and prune the mega-shaggy yew and the English ivy grows a foot every day in the spring. It's wild!! Thanks for the heads-up that my golden juniper might lose its gold under the clematis. It bronzes each winter. Would it turn green under a mound of Clematis?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 6:15PM
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Do you have enough room behind the junipers to put up a trellis? That would be more ideal if so. Put up a 3-4' trellis & let them hang down over the junipers? A picture would help a lot. Maybe I can figure out which juniper you have & to see how far apart they are. The Jackmanii would need to be a taller trellis or obelisk to make that work since it gets bigger. That would be a neat change of height to keep the eye traveling.

Please check into the intregrifolias, I think you will be very impressed. They are one of the longest blooming clematis you will run across. They don't cling like regular clems & don't get as large either. They would still need to be planted behind to just let them drop onto the junipers, which may take a spring chore to drop them where you want to. Some are easier than others, so if you decide to take that route & find a few you're interested in, ask here again to see which ones will work.

For a visual on how Niobe gets, I'm including a pic of mine from last year (only because it hasn't changed much from this year). The highest point is @ 7'. Try to visualize this if it was on a smaller trellis.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 7:55PM
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Holy cow, what a fantastic plant. I Love how it blooms from the base to the top.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 8:33PM
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My sentiments exactly, Janet! Kind of hard to visualize it folded upon itself isn't it? Do you grow Niobe? It would be helpful if you could contribute as well. What is your take on this whole scenario?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 9:38PM
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I still don't have Niobe - I had my hand on it, but didn't get it. When I realize how foolish I had been, when I went to get it, all the Niobes were gone except for one, which I suspected had the wrong tag.

Evergreen needles are sensitive to being rubbed on or covered up. While they can tolerate the thin, fine clematis vines well, I would be careful not to let the 2 large clematis cover the junipers completely, blocking out too much sun. While they will survive, they won't be at their best. I'm a bit fussy when it comes to selecting the right size plant for a site -- it's a lot less work in the long run.

I like your idea of using an integrifolia; Durandi would be nice - she'd only need one. A Patio clematis would be good too; Bonanza only gets 6 feet tall. The deeper purple against the gold needles would be beautiful.

All that said, I still would like to see a picture of the site.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 7:49AM
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seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)

Your Niobe is gorgeous lalalandwi! Thanks also to Janet for your advice. I will try to get a picture up this evening after work. I may have to rethink where I put my new Clematis. A 7' or higher trellis in front of each side of my walkway to the front of the house might not work.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 8:00AM
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Ooohh, sounds like an arbor might work. Can't wait to see your pics.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2009 at 10:53AM
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seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)

Hi lalalandwi , I finally got out there to take the pictures and put them in photobucket. The link is below.

The first two shots are of the new Clematis I have to plant and the fourth is of the two junipers. The walkway is so narrow that I cannot have an arbor. i would love to but they are all so wide...

Here is a link that might be useful: Photobucket images of junipers and Clematis

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 1:02PM
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I'd get rid of the junipers, replace with daylilies, and grow clematis up those posts.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 5:57PM
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seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)

Thanks janetpetiole but that is waaaay too radical for me. I love my shaggy junipers. They've been there forever, and are one of two species of plants original to my yard (I redid my entire front, side, and back in 2005). I have to trim them in the middle to clear the sidewalk like I do every year. I have many cultivars of daylilies in my side yard though so I like those too.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 6:39PM
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I hope I didn't offend you, but I think your house is adorable and feel the shrubs take something away from it.

Just my opinion, which doesn't mean squat because I don't make the payments :-)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 8:57PM
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seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)

Hi janetpetiole,
You didn't offend me at all. I just like my junipers. They have sentimental value. I agree, that I war with the aesthetic and "botanist" side of me. Aesthetically I shouldn't have a jungle of specimen plants, but the part of me who wants to cram in at least one of every interesting species wins. The pictures make the junipers seem more prominent than they are as the house seems small/junipers seems large. I will get out there and do the yearly trim at least though waiting until fall would be wiser of me I guess.
There is a beautiful dark purple Clematis in the neighborhood so I'll have to walk by and see exactly what they've done. I think they have big support that you don't see as it's buried under a mound of Clematis.
I'm so glad I posted and asked this question and you and lalalandi answered else I would have made a big mistake planting to grow on the short bushes.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 11:51PM
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seagreen_turtle(Z5 MI)

I ended up pruning the junipers, widening the beds, putting up some tall narrow black/wrought iron-looking trellises, and I planted the two clematises at 45 degree angles to the junipers. They look great.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2009 at 3:42PM
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