Clematis is a genus of amazing woody, perennial, vines with over 300 different species and cultivars — some of which are also called virgin’s bower, old man’s beard, leather flower, traveller’s joy, and vase vine. Clematis vines belong to the Ranunculaceae or buttercup botanical family, and produce beautiful, large, flowers.
Some clematis species are impressive climbers, while others spread widely. The fact that plants within the clematis genus originate from all over the world — with natives from nearly every continent, and therefore nearly every possible climate — means that no matter where you live, you’ll be able to find a clematis that’s just right for your garden.
The most popular clematis vines are hybrid cultivars, however, and one particular variety has been a garden favorite ever since the 1800s. Clematis x Jackmanii (or Clematis ‘Jackmanii’), more commonly called Jackman’s clematis or Jackman’s virgin’s bower, is a smaller member of the clematis genus with amazing deep purple blooms.
Jackman’s clematis and other clematis vines are delightful ornamentals — and though growing and caring for these flowering vines isn’t too challenging, you do need to be familiar with a few tips and tricks to help your clematis thrive.
About Clematis Vines
- Clematis is a genus of attractive woody flowering vines with dense foliage and beautiful large flowers that bloom during the summer.
- Clematis species are native to many continents — from North America (Clematis virginiana, also called the devil’s darning needles) to Europe (a clematis native to the UK, Clematis vitalba, is more commonly called traveller’s joy), India, Australia, and New Zealand. Most clematis species, including those most beloved among gardeners, are native to China and Japan, however.
- Clematis x Jackmanii, or Jackman’s clematis, is a hybrid of two species — Clematis lanuginosaand Clematis viticella. This variety was named for nineteenth-century British horticulturist George Jackman, who first introduced the stunning hybrid — which is famous for its more compact size and large deep purple blooms.
- Clematis is a Greek word that means vine or tendril.
- Clematis vines have historically been used for medicinal purposes, with the leaves, rhizomes, and roots all having different applications. They are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, but science supporting their use in alternative medicine is weak.
- In fact, gardeners should never think that any parts of a clematis are safe to munch on because of their medicinal use! Clematis is highly toxic, not just to pets such as dogs, cats, horses, but also to humans. Contact with the sap of these vines can lead to severe skin irritation in some people, which is why gardeners handling clematis vines are advised to don garden gloves!
- The blooms of clematis vines do, on the other hand, attract bees and butterflies, as well as hummingbirds, making these vines a wonderful addition to any pollinator garden.
- Clematis is vulnerable to a couple of diseases and pests. These pretty vines are especially known to be snail magnets, but they can also attract spider mites and earwigs. In addition, these vines easily fall prey to clematis wilt, a fungal disease unique to this genus, which causes severe wilting and black leaves.
- Although clematis is very much known as a garden vine, it is also possible to grow clematis species year-round as houseplants. When grown as houseplants, clematis species are high-maintenance and will need to be watered and fertilized very frequently, in addition to requiring more labor-intensive pruning. Madame Julia and Sugar Candy are two clematis cultivars that grow well indoors, in part because they tolerate more aggressive pruning better than many other varieties.
Clematis Features: An Overview
- Clematis vines are woody perennials that can spread or climb, depending on the species. Their dense foliage and large flowers are their biggest “selling points”, in combination with the fact that clematis can easily be trained to grow on trellises.
- The height and spread of clematis vines depends on their precise species. Many can grow to be 6 to 18 feet (two to five and a half meters) long when offered the proper growing environment — which includes space to climb, with the right supports. The ever-popular Jackman’s clematis is more modestly-sized than some of its close relatives, typically growing to be seven to 10 feet (two to three meters) long, with a spread of up to six feet (two meters).
- While most clematis species are hybrids or native to the northern regions of Asia (China and Japan), many are considered to be naturalized in the United States.
- Clematis has broad leaves, which may be deciduous or evergreen, and which grow in an alternating pattern. Their size, shape, and other characteristics depend on the exact species — Jackman’s clematis has elliptical deciduous leaves with pointy tips and smooth edges.
- Jackman’s clematis produces beautiful large blooms with four to six petals. Reaching up to six inches (15 centimeters) in size, they bloom abundantly during the late spring to summer period.
- The climbing, elegant, stems of Jackman’s clematis have a distinct burgundy or red-brown color with eye-catching ridges.
- Jackman’s clematis also produces beautiful copper-colored fruit clusters in the fall, once the flowers wilt. Large, coarse, hairs extend from these achenes, making them especially decorative.
- Contrary to some clematis species, Jackman’s clematis is a real climber. This clematis has, for some reason, gained a reputation as a plant that can be used to hide unsightly spaces — due to which it’s become especially common around mailboxes. These plants look equally beautiful, if not more so, when planted in rock gardens, on trellises, or growing on trees.
Growing Jackman’s Clematis and Other Clematis Species
This plant strongly favors bright sun with some partial shade — clematis vines are often said to prefer to have their heads in the sun, and feet in the shade. The ideal location for your Jackman’s clematis, and most other clematis species, depends on your geographical location. The further north you are, the sunnier of a spot you will want to pick for your clematis. In warm, southern, regions, clematis vines prefer warm sun earlier in the day and partial to full shade in the afternoons.
Jackman’s clematis prefers mild temperatures between 55 and 60 °F (12 to 16 °C), which makes these plants very popular in the United Kingdom, but some of the other species can handle warmer temperatures with ease.
Soil-wise, Jackman’s clematis and its close relatives thrive in nutrient-rich neutral soils that drain well and can remain evenly moist. To take another look at the whole “head in the sun, feet in the shade” recommendation, it’s crucial to note that clematis doesn’t like warm soil conditions — which can cause its root system to become diseased, ultimately placing the plant’s survival at risk. This is why it is common for experienced gardeners to cover the soil surrounding clematis’ roots in rocks, though mulch can also be used to help cool the conditions on the ground.
- The main methods of vertical greening of clematis are corridor greening pavilions, columns, walls, shapes and grids
- Which not only increases the amount of greenery, but also improves the environmental conditions
- Clematis are deciduous or flowering from early spring to late , and fruiting in summer
- The main methods of vertical greening of clematis are corridor greening pavilions, columns, walls, shapes and grids
- 200+ Clematis Seeds Mixed Colors
- Plant Habit:Climbing
- Wonderful Spring Flowering Vine - Attracts Butterflies and Hummingbirds
- Beautiful Climbing Vine with vibrant multi colored flowers. An excellent addition to any garden or outdoor space.
- Flowering Genus:Clematis.
- Expected blooming period: Spring to Fall
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Clematis has some unusual planting needs, so pay close attention. Plant your clematis with its root ball three to four inches (eight to 10 centimeters) below its initial nursery-pot level to help ensure its survival — this mechanism encourages latent buds to emerge within the soil, and can save your clematis if the growth it shows above ground encounters any diseases. In addition, it’s yet another way to make sure the plant’s roots can remain adequately cool, the importance of which cannot be overstated.
Your clematis will also need to be fertilized, and gardeners can choose to use a complete fertilizer starting in the spring and carrying on monthly through the vine’s entire growth period, ending after the bloom subsides. Instead of this, using natural compost is a viable alternative.
Some clematis species bloom on old wood, while others bloom on new growth. The beloved Jackman’s clematis blooms on new wood, on stems that have developed during the current growing season. This helps you determine the best time to prune your plant — which you will want to do to train it in a particular direction. Prune Jackman’s clematis after the flowers wilt, and before new stems begin to proliferate; in other words, any time from the late fall through the late winter to very early spring.
These plants get stressed when they are overpruned, and it is recommended to keep your pruning efforts to a minimum.
Watering Clematis Vines
Clematis vines strongly favor evenly moist soil, and should therefore be watered more frequently than some other plants. Keep in mind that different species of clematis might require more or less water.
Young clematis vines will be able to develop better when they are watered two regularly; to three times a week — this watering routine should continue for at least the first few weeks of your clematis plant’s life. When your clematis vines are mature, they will thrive with about an inch of water every week — though in summer and in warmer conditions, your clematis will need more.
Indoor clematis vines should be watered more often too — two to three times every week is best.
Propagating Clematis Vines
When it comes to propagating clematis, you can make it easy or hard on yourself — depending on the method you choose as well as the clematis species.
These plants can be propagated through stem cutting and from seed, as well as by layering. While propagating clematis through stem cuttings is a pretty easy process, propagating from seed is another story entirely.
The steps gardeners need to take to propagate clematis vines through stem cutting are:
- Laying the groundwork. Before you start, make sure you have the right tools and a suitable nursery pot for your clematis cuttings. Any sterilized sharp tool, like a knife or pruning tool, works. Fill your pot with moist soil for your clematis cutting.
- Picking your stems. It’s best to take cuttings from your clematis vines in early summer. You will need to take your stems from a mature and strong clematis vine plant — which is already at least two years old. Look for stems that aren’t brand and too soft, but also aren’t old and woody. You shouldn’t pick stems with flowers or buds, either.
- Take your sharp tool and cut a two to three foot length above a leaf joint — longer and shorter is fine, too. Remove the leaves from the clematis cutting.
- Dip your stem cutting in rooting hormone powder. Plant the cutting, leaning it against the side of the pot, and cover it with a Ziploc bag to help the cutting retain moisture. Make sure that this covering does not touch your young cutting.
- After a couple of months you should notice your stem cutting take root and start growing. If not, you might have to try again — don’t worry if it takes a couple of tries!
Propagating clematis vines from seed is technically possible, but it’s a long and hard process that won’t always succeed.
- Harvest the clematis plant seed pods during fall — the seed pods should look feathery. After harvesting the seed pods, separate the little brown seeds from the pods.
- Plant your clematis seeds in a seeding tray with moist soil. We recommend planting multiple seeds as propagating through seeds can take a long time each seed only has a small chance of succeeding.
- It can take up to three years for your seeds to germinate! Most of the time you will see signs of germination by at least the first year.
These plants can also be propagated through layering, which requires you to bend a living stem into the soil in your garden and waiting for it to take root. To offer yourself the best odds of success, stick to stem cuttings.
Jackman’s clematis and other clematis varieties are incredibly popular garden ornamentals for good reason. While caring for these vines comes with a fairly steep learning curve, you’ll master it soon enough. In return, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful flowers during the summer, and wonderful foliage for much of the rest of the year.