A white and a blue clematis - Your recommendations?

Julia NY(6)September 28, 2010

I'm planning to add a white and a blue clematis next year to grow up the sides and across the top of our pergola.

I was thinking of SWEET AUGUST but is there another white, tall(grows more than 8 ft) and northern hardy to consider?

Also want to add a blue one but haven't a clue yet what would be a good choice.

I already have a deep burgundy colored one and a purple one but they don't grow very tall.

Would appreciate some recommendations and places you've purchased from online.

Thanks for the help.


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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Sweet Autumn does not play well with others. It grows huge and smothers less vigorous Clematis to death.

Huldine is a larger white that isn't so vigorous. So is Alba Luxurians.

Silver Star Vinery and Brushwood are two of the mail order sources mentioned most favorably here. Brushwood's clems are smaller.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 12:13PM
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Julia NY(6)

buyorsell888: Thank you for the recommendations on whites. Any suggestions on blue ones?

When I checked the two sites you mentioned, I noticed that one sells clems in gallon size pots versus quart size. Is there a noticeable difference in how well either of those will do, ie smaller vs larger?


    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 12:02PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

What other characteristics are you looking for besides color? Do you want spring bloom, rebloomers, bloom all year, size of flower, pruning requirements, sun/shade requirements, etc.

Henryi has large white blooms in the spring with some fall rebloom.

Guernsey Cream is one of the early spring bloomers here and has 6-7" blossoms. The blossoms are creamy white. Saw this one at a spring plant swap and have been looking for it all summer without success.

Huldine has lovely 4" blooms from July until frost. I'd say it is a soft white and has some pink on the back of the petals.

Most blues are actually pale purples. Soil and temperatures can also change the color. Will Goodwin was an almost true blue for me the first year but more purplish this year. H. F. Young looked bluish today. Kingfisher has large denim bluish flowers.

In the ground my Hagley is a greyish mauve pink, not the nice light pink I saw in photos.

Don't go by photos on the internet or catalog photos or descriptions as I find blue (and red) is often an exaggeration. Also people see colors differently. What is blue to me may not be so for you.

Many of us pot up the quart size plants into gallons and grow them on for a year before planting in the garden. Others put the quart size plants in their gardens right away. I have done both and prefer potting them up as some of my smaller clematis disappeared for a year or two before they got really growing. I think clematis in gallon pots with a good root system grow larger sooner. Henryi was a tiny plant two years ago and "died". It didn't grow until midsummer this year. Today I saw that it has some buds but may not get blooms as we are expecting an early freeze this weekend.

With hubby retiring the end of the year I do not know how many years we will stay here so I want my plants to get growing now which means buying gallon sized plants. Fortunately I live near Donahue's and we take a spring drive to their open house where they have both sizes of blooming clematis.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 8:48PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

My bluest blue is Rhapsody, but it doesn't bloom at the same time as Sweet Autumn, and doesn't get nearly as big. I planted a Lasurstern near my SAC, and it's surviving, but I have to pull it away from the SAC so it can get some sunlight. I'm not sure it's a good pairing.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 11:09PM
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Julia NY(6)

Thank you for the feedback.

This is our pergola we finished this year. I had planned to put one trellis near the edging on the easternly and another on the westernly side of it to get them to go up and over(the east/west sides are the longest sides). The area gets full sun, facing south. North is blocked by the house. I have alot of daylilies and they need the sun. I think I have enough space on the pergola for them to have enough room to vine and not overpower each other since the pergola is 10' x 20' with a height of approximately 8'.

I would like to have blooms start in late June through frost if possible. I probably could fit a few more in but thought to start with 2 to start the process. Size of blooms are not an issue.

One of my relatives suggested using large planters set on the patio outer edge but I thought I've read that clematis do better in the ground versus in pots. Am I correct?

Thanks for all the help.


    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 9:59AM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

Oh, am I jealous of all that space for potential clematis. I'd probably plant dozens of different ones all over that thing. I'd really let myself go instead of having to cram another one or two in in spaces that aren't really big enough for them. Having said that, though, it looks like you really need some big ones if they're going to go up and over that pergola. SAC and Huldine are both good white choices for such a large space and they bloom at different times and with vastly different looks. Mrs. Cholmondeley is supposed to be a big one also, although she doesn't get that tall for me.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 12:00PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It looks like a good structure for a big, vigorous one like Betty Corning.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2010 at 4:42PM
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Julia NY(6)

opheliathornvt: I'm trying to restrain myself from over planting this structure but it really is hard when I see all the wonderful clems I could get :-).

woodyoak: Thank you for the suggestion. I've googled BC and see it may be a good fit.


    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 8:49AM
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Julia -

I noticed that you mentioned a trellis to help it climb. If you aren't aware, the typical wood trellis has bars/pieces that are too large for clematis to wrap around, so either use a fine netting or wire grid over it to provide something for the clematis to grab, plan to fasten it onto the trellis by hand (velcro, fabric ties, and plastic coated wire ties have all been mentioned) or find a trellis that has quite narrow components so that the clem can climb on its own. Other folks have wrapped posts in wire fencing or wire grids that match the posts in color.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 11:08AM
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Julia NY(6)

nhbabs: I was planning on using fishing line with knots tied every 8" or so to help them. I read this somewhere, maybe even here on this forum. Will that work okay?


    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 6:33PM
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Cool idea, Julia. I've never tried that - let us know if it works.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 11:03PM
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bloomorelse(Z4b NB Canada)

Wow, what a beautiful pergola. Betty Corning would be a great choice as it gets quite tall flowers all summer and has a nice fragrance. Huldine would fit in well. For blue, there are not many that are a true blue. Prince Charles is blueish, gets quite tall and has tons of flowers. Wish I had the space for a clem structure in my yard for one like that. Be sure to show us next year when planted.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 10:20AM
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Julia NY(6)

I will definitely post next year. This forum has been so helpful. I will look up Prince Charles.

I found a seller called Hummingbird Farm when I was googling some of the names mentioned here and then saw it was also on a list of sellers on a post here on the forum.

I've pulled out 6 rose bushes which all turned to red roses over the last few years. I had pinks and yellows but then something happened and they all reverted to a red.
I'm planning on reusing those spots for shorter clematis and thinking to put in some obelisk trellis for them to vine on. Should look good with the daylilies and other perennials in those beds.

With all the choices of clematis there are, I don't think I will be disappointed. :-)


    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 2:25PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

You may not care anymore, but what often happens with roses (and it has happened to me), is that the rose you wanted, say, ABCD, isn't very strong, so they graft it onto the roots of a stronger rose, say WXYZ, to give it strength. Sometimes it works well, sometimes the WXYZ rose sends up shoots from the roots and you get both ABCD and WXYZ blooms, but mostly, at least for me, the weaker ABCD dies, and then the rose you have left is WXYZ. Some of the various rootstocks are a once-a-year blooming rose called Dr. Huey, with dark red blooms. That's probably what you have left.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:09PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I would not put SAC on that gorgeous pergola with other Clems, it is such a strong grower that it cover it all by itself.

Huldine, Betty Corning and Polish Spirit and good vigorous Clems as is Venosa Violacea.

I have Prince Charles too and it grows a lot smaller for me in the same bed.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 11:30AM
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Julia NY(6)

opheliathornvt: Thank you for explaining that to me. I have only 2 rose bushes left which are tea roses. So far, they have stayed the same bloom color as when I bought them many years ago. Too bad about the others though.

buyorsell888: I appreciate the feedback. I have Huldine and Betty Corning on my definite list. After viewing Polish Spirit and Venosa Violacea they could easily be added as well.

Others I'm considering are Perle d'Azur, Galore, Ernest Markham,Pamela Jackman, Duchess of Albany.

I've been searching the forums here for any pics or info others may have posted about them but so many photos are now missing as I guess folks have moved or deleted their photo files.

So many choices.


    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 6:16PM
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Julia - Clematis on the Web has photos of most clematis, often not only flowers, but foliage and seedheads. You can search several different ways. Just remember that not all colors photograph accurately, and things like soil type and light levels will alter the actual color a bit. I've found this to be a useful resource when researching clematis.

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

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 7:52AM
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Julia NY(6)

nhbabs: Thank you. I did bookmark that site.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 7:47AM
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One of the most vigorous blues is Xeres (syn. Elsa Spath) and I would like Marie Boisselot for the white. Both are good strong growers here in South Africa and are growing in full sun.

Regarding your question on pots or soil, please visit the website of my friend, Marie Lambert, link at bottom of message and read the section on Care and Pruning. Marie and I believes in pots, but your soil conditions may be different. The photos of her Clematis Show 2010 will inspire you.

Love the pergola and think it would be beautifull decked in clematis and roses.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marie Lambert's Website

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Julia NY(6)

Thank you for the link. Her garden is quite stunning and all those pots look very artistic.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 6:15PM
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