Which clematis to plant behind hydrangeas, and how?

yodioJuly 16, 2008

Hello clematis people,

I'm a newbie gardener, but have fallen in love with clematis and spend my evenings poring over clematis books. I'd love to plant 1 or 2 clematis on the bare north face of my garage, where there are now (in a row) a huge flowering quince, a macrophylla hydrangea (lady in red), a limelight hydrangea (paniculata) and finally a huge forsythia. The hydrangeas are new this spring, the LIR 3x3 and the LL 4x4. There is about 3 ft between them, and 2 ft on the outsides.

My questions are:

- which clematis would grow quickly/do well being planted between the 2 hydrangeas where it would receive almost no light? There is almost no direct sun there, as the quince blocks the morning light and some huge oaks in the middle of the yard block the afternoon light. I'd say it's light shade all day. And yet the hydrangeas have been doing great. However, this would be a little clematis planted between them...

- 1 clematis or 2? I know it depends on the size. I'd love it if I could have 2 growing intertwined... maybe a small abundant white like Paul Farges (although that needs sun) and jackmanii growing together. (Not sure about the pruning group compatibility there though.)

- Should I plant now or in the fall?

- And finally, what kind of support should I use? I know everyone recommends the green coated fence from Lowes but my house and garage are white.


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Hi Yodio, I'm also a newbie gardener and I can't really answer your questions about how well they will grow, but I have a picture of the green wire fencing that I've attached to a trellis up against my garage that I thought you might be interested to see. This is my first year with clematis.

My garage is a pale cream color, and the trellis with the wire fencing is not really as noticable as you'd think (not an eye sore), and like you, I was afraid it was going to stand out like a sore thumb but it really doesn't because the wire is so thin, and from a distance (I've viewed from my neighbors yard) you can hardly tell it's there. This is also a north facing wall, and I've planted the clematis behind my shrub and ferns. I've swapped the garbage can with the yard waste bin to allow more light to get back there, but they've grown well so far (I have minuet and alba luxurians - I've cut them down again to promote root growth, but they both made it 3/4 up the trellis already without direct sunlight).

I still need to add a downspout extension so my clems don't get overwatered, but only time will tell if they will bloom in this area (no direct sunlight). If you look at the fenceline in the background, I also have clematis planted there (this pic is a couple of months old), and those get mostly indirect sunlight, but they will get direct sunlight once they grow to the top of the fenceline, and some of those have already produced blooms.

I'll let the experts answer the questions regarding lighting and planting as they'll know better than I.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 2:37PM
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Thanks so much for the photo, it's really helpful. Gives me hope! I want to cover the entire side of this garage, which is quite tall. Wish me luck as I try to convince DH to attach green fencing all over the face of it ;). Are you the one who posted photos of that fence from the driveway before? And you were going to grow clematis all along the length of it? Lucky you.

I'm going to see which shade-tolerant clematis are on sale at Lowes at the end of the summer and may plant the north-facing inside of a chain link fence. The south face (street side) is covered by 100 foot-long, 5 foot-high mature bridal veil spirea, gorgeous in spring. I'd just like the view from inside the yard to be as nice!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2008 at 5:29PM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Yodio, not a clematis response, but a response in regard to the H. macrophylla. This will be root hardy in zone 5b, but you may see blooms only rarely, since it blooms on old wood, and that often doesn't make it through a 5b winter. The rest of your shrubs should be fine.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 6:03AM
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Yodio, yes that was my picture. I have a new and improved picture that I will have to post. I removed all the grass from the base of the fenceline, added Virginia Fieldstone as a border to keep the mulch in, and it looks much tidier and pleasant. I also removed the daylilies and iris per the suggestions of forum members.

I just wish I could speed the clock up, oh, about two more years (without the aging part of course) so I can enjoy my full grown clematis. For now, they seem to be doing fine.

I'm still watching this post to see what recommendations you get for clematis in the area you are looking to add more...good luck.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 10:36PM
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Here is a list of clematis for shady areas

For additional information of each variety, go to Clematis on the Web (CotW).

Here is a link that might be useful: Clematis on the Web.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 7:20AM
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Hi Kim & Janet,

I've been studying that chalk hill list as well as some books and of course this great forum and am leaning toward jackmanii and silver moon. I thought purple would look nice above the green of the limelight and against my white house.

And Lacey, you're right about the zone issue. I was planning on doing the burlap & oak leaves thing but my MIL is laughing at me. Not only that, I think the macrophylla is in too much shade and may not bud out any blossoms for the cold to kill anyway! ;)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 10:22AM
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charlottev(Zone 4-4b)

Maybe I can help. All clematis prefer sun, despite what some of the tags tell you. But I have had success with Sweet Autumn (keeps its growth down) multi blue (it won't be prolific) Mrs. Chomondeley, Guernsey Cream, Piliu, Minuet. Some do better than others. Mine get some light and some sun, but mostly shade. Jackmanii will not like it, it needs lots of sun. There is no perfect solution.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 9:58PM
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