what do you plant in front of your clems?

trovesoftrilliums(5)August 17, 2011

Looking for suggestions for what to plant in front of my clems on the east side of the house. I'd love to know what other people have good success with and what you all think might be good for my little bed.

I have Hagley Hybrid and will soon be putting in Mayleen to the left with the hope that mayleen will be able to be trained to grow up the side and around the corner of the garage a bit...haven't figures out exactly HOW, but hopefully it will all come together. :) This little bed started out as my son's herb garden and still has dill, sage, chives in it. We took out the oregano as it was taking over everything else. I have also tucked in there a foxtail lily, some struggling dianthus, curly chives, two low asters, a Johnson's blue geranium, some columbine, a few delphinium babies, a blue japanese iris, etc. Everything is eihter new last fall or this year so I don't have a lot of mature plants. I tend to put a lot of things in this little bed since it is easy to keep an eye on things here. Anyways, most of this I plan to move out in the fall into other parts of the garden and am wondering what to keep or put in front of the clematis.

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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

You don't have to put anything in front of your Clematis but make sure you don't put something greedy for water or fertilizer or with a big root system there. They don't compete well...

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

How about a medium sized Hosta with soft colors and fragrant flowers in August. Oh, and it will take as much sun as shade.

Sweet Innocence


    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 9:09PM
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Sedums are shallow rooted and don't require much water or nutrients. The variety 'Autumn Joy' reaches 1.5 - 2 feet tall. I think there is another variety that gets a little taller, but I can't remember the name. Sedums look nice all season long, blooming in late summer through fall. It does not attract damaging bugs. It even looks pretty in winter when snow piles on top of the flower heads and leaves.

The bulbs of Asiatic lilies are shallow. There is a full array of colors and sizes. Asiatic lilies need about the same requirements as a clematis. The flowers are sturdy, drop-dead gorgeous, and neither the stems or flowers have pest problems. The flower petals drop off cleanly. The bulbs increase steadily within a clump to about 1 1/5 feet. They don't get out of bounds nor reseed all over the place. In my garden, the lilies are in full bloom late June - Early July. Fall is a good time of year to plant lilies if you can find them.

Hostas leaves will scorch in full sun if the plants do not get enough moisture. If you plant hosta in full sun, make sure you have the time to water it, sometimes twice a day if your area doesn't get a lot of rainfall in summer. Hosta also attract the same bugs that are attracted to clematis.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 9:47AM
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eden_in_me(5a Maine)

Janet, you are lucky that the red lily beetles haven't gotten as far North as you live. Here lilies require constant vigilance to destroy the little menaces. Also slugs like to chomp on them.

I used to love & collect lilies, but now I just try to keep them alive. I had them potted in the ground in various perennial beds, but dug them up, gave some to my daughter-in-law 3 hours North of here, and grouped the rest of the pots (with 2 exceptions) in a pot ghetto and only drag them out to the "showplace" between the road and the 4' or so fencing where some of my clems grow. And when they finish blooming, it's back to a less noticeable place.

I like Heucheras in front of clems. Many of my clems are in tubs, so I have a variety of groundcover plants sharing the space, until they start to take over.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 8:47PM
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Maine is further north than Wisconsin. :)

I haven't heard of red lily beetles - it sounds terrible. No slug problems with the lilies either. My insect plague is earwigs, but the earwigs seems to leave the asiatic lilies alone.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 8:52AM
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Before I knew all I've just very recently learned in this Forum ~ all I did was plant something to keep roots cool ~ per tag inst.

Depending on the site/sun exposure my 6 Clems are planted: Huecheras at the foot of Snow Queen, Platycodon for Ramona, Columbines for Marie B, Lavender for Cezanne, a mini Rose for Josephine & Blue Bell takes care of himself & SA (soon to be relocated for the 4th time) didn't mind Periwinkle in previous site!

@ eden_in_me ~ What do you mean by *Tubs* & how long have they been in these tubs? How do you over-winter them. I have 2 that I intend to keep in the 4gal nursery pots, I kept them 'til finding the right home for them - hopefully by Spring? Am still learning ... TIA!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 1:40PM
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eden_in_me(5a Maine)

By "tubs" I mean oversized flower pots, usually plastic, at least 16" wide at the top and about 2.5' tall. Most are not decorative, but as I get most of my containers at yard sales, I do have a few that are. I also have clems & roses in the larger tubs that have 2 rope handles that are a bit taller and maybe 24" wide. Never really measured anything.
Large black plastic pots that trees and large shrubs are sold in also work well.

My largest tubs are bathtubs, not the fancy old ones with claw feet, but a more modern type that rest flush on the ground, with the end opposite the drain raised slightly. There is not good enough drainage for clems, so I use these mostly for bog and woodland plants. The porcelain types are a bit better than the fiberglass, altho the later are a lot easier to bring home and maneuver into the desired place in the gardens.

In earlier stages of learning to grow clems, I lost more than my share due to root rot, whether in the ground or in tubs. Now the first thing I do before planting is to take an axe to the upturned pot and whack it enough to produce a crack in the bottom, if not a hole. If the planter has an attached matching saucer I try to get that off first.

When the reciprocating saw worked, I cut off the damaged top of a plastic garbage can so it stood about 3.5' tall, but clems didn't care much for it, But it is great for small hostas that have red or black leaf stems that you can't see very well when they are at ground level. A few have been here for several years without complaint.

I don't have anywhere indoors to take them for the Winter, so the most protection the tubs get is having fallen tree leaves raked up close to the bases. One year I topped off all the tubs with bark mulch, but usually it gets too cold to want to work outside by the time I get my other Fall chores done.

I think a 4 gallon pot would be the minimum I would want to leave a clem above ground in, but if you have someplace that you can dig a hole and bury the pot to almost the rim, the chances would be better for it. Or you could try tying bubble wrap around the pot, maybe with some leaves stuck in before tying. I'm thinking of doing that with the roses that weren't doing well where they were planted that I recently potted, and maybe stuff some tree leaves into garbage bags to place around them, as high as I can get, because I'm into climbing roses and want to minimize cane loss.

So much to do, so little time.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 6:51PM
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billums_ms_7b(Delta MS 8A)

I put old fashioned bearded iris in front of mine. They are shallow rooted and don't compete too much for water, but the leaves are tall enough to shade the ground.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 11:17PM
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