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Beginner Gardening: Clematis montana growing up a tree

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Forum: Beginner GardeningReplies: 8, Views: 95
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Georgetown, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 13, 2011
7:33 PM

Post #8494071

I want to plant clematis montana to grow up a mature red cedar (I don't care for the look of it's shaggy bark, but the tree is a native and quite large, so I don't want to remove it.) Researching this idea, I've read that they (c. montanas) tolerate competition with tree roots very well. This fact, along with it's immense mature size, is why I chose this clematis for the job. My question is: The guidelines I've come across say to plant it 30-40 centimeters away from the trunk of the tree. This seems ridiculously close to me, but it would be convenient to have the clematis that close for training. Still, I'm a little wary of planting the clematis that close to the trunk, so I wanted to check in here first to see if anyone can confirm that these guidelines are correct before I commit.


central, NJ
(Zone 6b)

April 14, 2011
7:00 PM

Post #8496361

You'd have to plant it fairly close to what you want to train it up.
Georgetown, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 15, 2011
7:26 PM

Post #8498911

lol - yes, but 30-40 cms away from the trunk of a tree just seems awfully close to me. That's just a little over a foot.

Maybe I'm just paranoid because I plant (too many) roses. Climbing roses have to be planted at least 6-8 feet away from the tree you want them to climb.
(Arlene) Southold, NY
(Zone 7a)

April 15, 2011
7:28 PM

Post #8498914

Try digging a hole where you want to plant the clematis. You may find the earth is filled with roots or you may be lucky and find a vacancy 18" wide and just as deep.
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

April 18, 2011
2:42 PM

Post #8504495

A foot and half is about right IF as suggested you can in fact dig a hole through the roots, a mature tree would tolerate having some roots cut away where you want to dig the hole.

The Montana is a very robust fast growing Clematis and comes in shades of Pink or White, both as as fast growing.

For best results you should try dig the hole on the shaded side of the tree trunk as all Clematis like there feet in shade and there flowering stems trained up into the sun for best results, dig the hole deep and wide as you will have to add nice damp compost and a multi feed mixed through the planting soil into the hole before you plant the roots, try get the top of the spoil where the plant was in the pot about 2 inches under the top of the new soil as this helps stop Clematis wilt (if the Clematis gets this wilt, it will be able to send out new growing shoots as the wilt cant grow to parts under the soil) once the plant is planted and you then cover the whole root area with thick mulch or flat slab to prevent too much sun drying out this area AND it helps hold in moisture.
You can place a cane at an angle and lean it towards three trunk just to help the Clematis grow towards the tree, also you can nail a piece of chicken wire or some other form of support for the first few years so get the thing off to a good start. These are very fast growing plants once they get going after a couple of years so you might have to hack it back every few years, I always nip out the growing tips of new Clematis as this helps the plant to send out plenty if side shoots to make a nice thick growing plant. Hope this helps. good luck, Weenel.

Georgetown, TX
(Zone 8a)

April 19, 2011
11:22 AM

Post #8506622

Thank you, Weenel, that is very helpful and reassuring!

For what it's worth, I went with 'Pink Perfection' as I was told that it was little more obviously fragrant when in bloom than others. Of course, some people say they smell nothing while others claim the entire neighborhood reeks of vanilla. We'll see what happens.
Ayrshire Scotland
United Kingdom

April 25, 2011
1:08 PM

Post #8519568

I grow the pink one along a fence (low fence about 3 ft high) never smelled a thing but boy, does it look so pretty, OH yes, I also grow the white one up a tree and the lower stems of the clematis have invaded the fence too, no smell again, but just as dusk is falling, the little white flowers look really bright and attract lots on night insects, I would grow the clematis just for the beauty of it and if your's smells at all, look on it as a bonus. after a few years remember you may need to cut it well back or it will take over IF you have limited space. Next year you can pin down to the ground some longer stems and they will root ready to be cut away from the parent by the following spring, that way you get loads of new plants to pass on to friends etc.
Good luck WeeNel.
Flint Hills, KS
(Zone 5b)

May 1, 2011
8:36 PM

Post #8533517

I have been gardening for 30+ years, but am still a newbie. I have a Clematis Montana growing for the last 2 years on a wire fence. It has filled out nicely to 6 feet and is reaching for more to climb. It is planted in the 18" deep gravel of my parking area next to my garage. I did dig down into the dirt below and fill in with good soil. But how could anyone expect it to survive that? It is blooming nicely now. WeeNel, maybe I can get some starts by pinning some strands in pots nearby? --if they'll root over the summer.
(Arlene) Southold, NY
(Zone 7a)

May 2, 2011
5:39 AM

Post #8533949

Their roots go deep!

Last year my helper, Neri, and I had to dig out some of the root area (we thought it was just soil until he began to dig), about 5' from my montana 'Grandiflora' so it wouldn't overtake the clematis 'Liberation' as it has for the last 10 years. We dug a trench to separate the two but those roots were enormous and very deep. We got out two "clumps" like that but neither had any sprouts so I had no hope but had Neri bury them along the fence anyhow. They are both growing!

We went down about 24" so those roots aren't these innocent looking little things they appear to be when we first get them.

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