Clematis in shade

laurampls(4 MN)February 15, 2006

Calling all clematis experts --- does this sound like a fantasy? My front yard faces south and is shaded by a large white oak and a large elm. Close to the house, which is cream colored, I have 3 ruby spice clethra. I'd like to have a spring blooming clematis grow through them, especially because the clethra leaf out so late. There would be virtually no direct light. Other flowering plants that are doing quite well are classic shade plants: hellebore, astilbe, lobelia, trycirtis, kierengeshoma. Am I dreaming? And if anyone thinks this is possible, what would you suggest?


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Hi Laura -

I have two clematis on the south side of my Mlps house that is shaded by both the 2-story house next door and a very large birch tree. I planted it 10 years ago and it gets very little sun and has done extremely well. It gets about an hour of sun in the late afternoon.


    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Laura, sounds like full shade, is that right? You can always experiment with clematis, though that would be a little dark for them, and might impact amount of bloom. Another vine to consider is Lonicera (honeysuckle)--spring bloom, attractive foliage, tolerates shade.

Here's a handy-dandy Extension publication that lists some vines that grow in MN

another pub.

last but not least

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 4:38PM
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jel48(Z4 Michigan)

Laura, there is a Clematis forum on GW. You might ask over there. I planted 5 Clematis last year, and someone told me that some varieties will tolerate shade better then others. I don't recall who it was, but I bet someone on that forum might even be able to give you some suggestions on varieties that will do well in that spot

Here is a link that might be useful: GW Clematis Forum

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 7:36PM
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laurampls(4 MN)

Thanks everybody. I did peek at the Clematis forum but did not see many zone 4 posters so thought I'd try here first.

I may find a clematis that is more shade friendly, plant it and see how it does. Or wait and see if my elm succumbs to Dutch Elm disease like so many on our block. That would be tragic but it would certainly open up more plant possibilities.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2006 at 9:59PM
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selkie_b(z4 MN)

Most of the white clematis will do well in mostly shade, also both "Silver Moon" and "Blue Moon"


    Bookmark   February 17, 2006 at 10:08AM
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I have Lyon De Ville, Niobe, and Bee's Jubilee on the north side of the garage. It only gets direct sun for an hour or so in late afternoon. Lyon De Ville is my favorite which grew 6' or so in it's second season and started out at 1'. However, they don't bloom in spring. They bloom on new wood that sprouts in the spring. I'm not sure which clematis can bloom in spring after our harsh winters, but I'd like to know.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 3:10PM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

Look at Adlumina Fungosa- It is not a Clematis- I don't even know if it blooms in spring- but it sure does look pretty for a shade loving vine!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 2:13PM
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selkie_b(z4 MN)

carola... that's Ville de Lyon btw :)


    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 11:13AM
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