Advice Needed on Planting New Clematis

Oklahoma City, OK(Zone 7a)

I plan to plant the Kaen, Bees Jubilee and Carnaby on the same trellis behind a fountain. In fact, I planted the Kaen and Bees Jubilee today. I'll add the Carnaby when I received the next order. I've moved a Bowl of Beauty peony to that area and plan to add another peony on the other side of the fountain. And I'm planting Dianthus Pop Star in front of the fountain.

In another previous post, I asked for advice on what colors of clematis to plant with my coral and peach roses. Based on the advice received, I plan to plant 1 purple and 1 white clematis on each of 3 very narrow wrought iron trellises. (They were actually porch posts in a former life.) I'd really like advice on which purple (Rhapsody, Kasugai and Trikatrei) to plant with which whites (Yukiokoshi, Alba Luxurians and Shirayukihime). This is when I really wish I could post pictures since I'm asking for help. Help, Pirl, you are so good at making those collages.

I originally planned to plant my Kiri Te Kanawa there. In fact I did today but have decided to move it to another area. I think it will look better to have all purple clematis in the rose bed. At least, based on the pictures on the website, the other 3 look closer to the same color.

Actually I'm trying to decide whether to plant the Kiri or the Niobe in the other area where I have a Japanese Maple, red Knockout Rose, Black Scallop ajuga and blue-eyed grass (newly planted from Santa Rosa). I thought the Kiri might look good with the blue-eyed grass, plus I'm thinking about adding either 1-2 Savia verticillata Purple Rain or 1-3 Salvia lyrate Purple Knockout to that area, depending on room. But it seems like the Niobe would look good in this area, too. Which should I plant there?

I will be adding the Polish Spirit to the chain link fence in my purple bed. I have a couple of Jackmanni there, but they have not done well at all.

I plan to plant the 2 montanas in front of our new 6' cedar fence (facing the front yard/street). The fence does have 3.5" gaps between the boards, so you don't feel completely confined. The Grandiflora will be on east side of the house facing north. The Rubens will be on the west side of the house, also facing north. The fence on the east side is probably at least twice as wide as the one on the west site. (The driveway with an automatic gate is on the west side.) I would prefer not to use a trellis on either of these clematis. I read somewhere about stringing a wire every so many inches to create a grid to provide a structure for vines to climb on. Since both of these clematis grow so large, I would like them to "cover" the fence, but I don't want all of the growth/flowers to go to the top. I'd rather have a living wall. Has anyone ever tried this or seen it? Any advice?

I still don't know where I am going to put the Gravetye Beauty or Patricia Ann Fretwell. And, of course, I'll still have figure out where to put either the Kiri or Niobe.

I was thinking of planting the Gravetye Beauty to scramble up an Euonymous hedge behind my red flower bed. Then I read the post about trimming the shub, and this hedge needs frequent trimming to keep it in check. I just couldn't help myself. I love red. That's the same reason I had to have the Niobe, too.

And I couldn't resist the Patricia Ann Fretwell because it looked so unusual. I do have a pink bed, so I may be able to find a place for it there. Would it absolutely be overwhelmed by the montana Rubens if I wanted to plant it in front of the Rubens? I have a couple of other pink clematis that don't show much where they are and aren't doing well either. I don't think they are getting enough water. Could they be moved to the same bed with the Rubens, too?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Looks like I have some investigating to do and some collages to make. I'll do my best and probably reply in full tomorrow.

I wouldn't plant the peony close to the clem's. You'd injure either the clem roots or the roots of the peonies if you were to dig there in the future.

My vote is for Kiri with the Japanese maple and the other plants you mentioned. In the end it is your garden so you get to make the choice.

If you plant the Polish Spirit and then the Jackmanii's take off you'd have different shades of purple. If that's what you want then do it.

Niobe would go well with Patricia Ann Fretwell. See what you think. I have Patricia with Ernest Markham and they make a nice couple. Before you think I have the wrong photo in the upper right hand corner, it really is Patricia Ann Fretwell but it was blooming this year as you see it. The truer pink version photo is by victorgardener.

No clematis for the euonymus is the right thought. The pruning there is definitely the issue. My thought is clem's do better on plants like Tardiva hydrangea or Limelight hydrangea but even they might need pruning at some time. I've now lost too many clem's to various shrubs so I won't be doing that again. Dwarf Alberta Spruce and Hinoki cypress do not agree with clem's in this garden. Maybe someone else has better results but it was bad news for all the clem's I planted with either of them.

Gravetye Beauty is such a nice red. It would show up well with a white background like a house or a trellis.

I'll return tomorrow with my thoughts regarding the clem's you mentioned in your second paragraph.

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Oklahoma City, OK(Zone 7a)

Oh, thank you, Pirl, for responding. I've been checking this post off and on all day hoping to hear from you. I even checked the times you responded on other threads to see when I might expect to hear from you. When you replied to my post about the Brushwood sale but not this one, I was afraid I'd tried to cover too much and was asking too much of someone from whom I was requesting help. After lurking on the forum for awhile, I identified you as someone who is very helpful to newbies like me and whose advice I value. Am looking forward to hearing more of your ideas tomorrow.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I had to take time out tonight for the debate but I'll return tomorrow to try and help you. Thanks for the kind words.

Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

She is the best. Four more years the same, not.... Etelka

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Etelka - you're the best.

I am not the best guide to growing clematis but I do have 20 years experience with them and I think I've made all the mistakes so I try to help.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Regarding paragraph 2 of your question, relative to the peach roses with purple and white clematises (should be a stunning combination):

Are the posts you're going to use already in place? I love the idea of reusing what we already have. Were they buried deeply or set in cement? Will you attach some kind of support for the clematises since they can't grow up a shiny (or matte) wood post?

You said "very narrow". Just how narrow is that (out of curiosity)?

You've selected pruning groups 2 and 3. To save your sanity I'd suggest you plant the same groups on each post. Group 3 clematises want to be pruned down to about 18" in late February/early March. Group 2 get pruned after bloom to tidy them up and remove any unwanted/stray growth.

All clematis photos are from Brushwood. Thanks, Dan.

The center white portion is supposed to be the post. I couldn't find a good photo online to copy so just use your imagination!

Photo #1 - your group/type/class 3 choices. Please note the Alba Luxurians is classified as "compact" on Brushwood's site.

Photo #2 - both group 2 - Rhapsody and Shirayukihime. I like this combination best.

Photo #3 - both group 2 - Rhapsody and Yukiokoshi.

The choice is yours.

P.S. Now that I've stayed up two hours past my usual bedtime, will you please feed the dog in the morning and give him his eye drops, Vitamin E and Benadryl? Wake him gently singing, "Good morning to you" (the same music as the happy birthday song) and give him a belly rub and a backrub before his breakfast. Thanks.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Are these the trellises and the garden in question?

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Oklahoma City, OK(Zone 7a)

The trellises are actually wrought iron. They are 18 1/2" wide. I thought the clematis would do ok on them since I have clematis on other metal trellises. I'll post a picture of them in a minute. I forgot to download my pictures before I started this reply, and I'm having a little trouble.

Fortunately, it did occur to me to plant them by pruning groups. Unfortunately, I thought the Kasugai was a group 2. Guess I'll need to find another group 3 white one. I think it will be easier to find a home in another area for the Yukiokoshi than the Trikatrei.

I didn't notice that the Alba Luxurians was considered compact. It said it grew 8-12'.

I'll gladly feed your dog in the morning and give him his eye drops, Vitamin E and Benadryl? I'll wake him gently singing, "Good morning to you" as long as he doesn't mind an out-of-key voice. And I'll give him a belly rub and a backrub before his breakfast. I'm a dog lover and indulgent mama to 2 rescue miniature Schnauzers and a miniature dachshund who abandoned my daughter and adopted us when they stayed with us for a while. My son accuses me of being a dog thief because I've already "stolen" 2 of my daughters dogs, and any of their dogs would happily move in with us if they could. In fact, his dogs never want to go home when we've babysat them.

Oklahoma City, OK(Zone 7a)

Here are the trellises.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Your trellises are terrific. I love cast iron and wrought iron. The clem's will do just fine on them. Are they attached to the fence behind them at the top?

When we get into that "clematis zone" where we can't do anything but click on each one it's very easy to mistake a pruning group. You do have an out though since a few of us clem lovers cut back the 2's and 3's in late winter. It's all your choice.

I'm sorry - my apologies. It's Shirayukihime that Brushwood says is compact. I guess I was more tired than I felt.

Smitty would love you! As it was he just remained in bed until I was all ready for him with food and medicines. The 25 mg. Benadryl is because he's highly allergic, per the two vets (ours and the one at the rescue shelter where we got him in July).

How sweet that you are such a good dog mommy that pets adopt you rather than the opposite. That's testament to your love of pets.

Oklahoma City, OK(Zone 7a)

Yikes, I've already planted the peony and the clematis in the same small bed. I hate to lose the peony, but should I move it? I just moved it to this bed. I definitely want to keep the clematis there.

How differently are the shades of purple of the Polish Spirit and the Jackmanii? Would they look bad together?

I'm pretty discouraged about the Jackmanii. I've had them 5 years, and they have never really grown and have only had a few small blooms. I did move them 3 years ago because they weren't doing well. Of course, at the time, I didn't know anything about planting them deep, adding lots of compost and manure, etc. I also believe I relied too heavy on our sprinkler system, and they've not gotten enough water since they were at the back of the bed. Plus, I've not mulched them enough. Gee, no wonder the only clematis I have that have actually thrived in spite of my mistakes have been the ones from Brushwood. Even I haven't been able to kill them. Anyway, I plan to try salvaging the Jackmanii by giving them SuperThrive and Epsom Salt, adding compost and manure to the top of the soil and mulching them much deeper. Would it be ok to give them SuperThrive when I receive it, or should I wait until spring? Based on your previous advice, I assume I should not give them Epsom Salt until spring.

The trellises are attached at the top.

Thanks to your collages I've definitely decided to go with the Kasugai and Alba Luxurians. I also liked the Rhapsody and Shirayukihime much better than the other combination.

Any suggestions for a group 3 white to go with theTrikatrai? I was thinking possibly a florida Sieboldii because of those beautiful purple staminodes.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'd move the peony if it's too close to the clematis. Try keeping any competing plant at least 3' away, the exception being annuals.

I don't know the difference in colors between Polish Spirit and Jackmanii since I've never owned Polish Spirit. Maybe someone reading this post, who has both of them, could advise you about it.

Manure is very slow acting so you could put down at least a one inch layer on your Jackmanii clem's and then add 3" of mulch. If you have compost then put that down before the mulch on top.

When I first planted clem's I didn't plant deeply enough but they survived. The one that died was strangled by montana Grandiflora. I kept reading about clem's and kept adding thick layers of compost & manure with pine needle mulch on top - the others all survived and did well.

Would you consider using the Super Thrive on one Jackmanni but not the other, just to test the outcome? Wait for the Epsom Salt drink until late winter/early spring.

In Brushwood's photo of Alba Luxurians and online at other places ( ) it appears to have a blue tint. I'd use that combo in the center so as not to throw off your white and purple planting color scheme.

I'll go looking for a group 3 white and be back when I find one.

Colleyville, TX(Zone 8a)

Great advice Pirl.
SBounds2, I would only add that Alba Luxurians is a small flower, in case you didn't realize it. I think Florida S would be a great pick. Venosa Violacea
also has a white face that grows and blooms well.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Take a look at Huldine, group 3, at Brushwood. It really is white, not as shown:

Or be daring and try this Flammula:
That could really be stunning.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I vote for using the Superthrive, because, unlike fertilizers, it gets the plants to focus on getting the roots going instead of trying to put on top growth now. Last fall I used Rootblast, another great root stimulator but harder to find, when dividing and moving plants, and they were huuuuge this spring. Plants I thought might be goners came back strong. This spring I used Superthrive on all my seedlings, plants, etc, and also had great results.

Happy planting!


Oklahoma City, OK(Zone 7a)

Thanks for all of your suggestions. I really like the Flammula; it is so unique. I've requested a back in stock notification from Brushwood for it as well as the Florida S and Huldine. I definitely want to stay with a white one to go with the Trikatrei.

I'd definitely be willing to try the SuperThrive on one of the Jackmanni and not the other. I am planning to use the SuperThrive on all of the plants I've bought or moved this fall.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I do love Super Thrive!

I tried it on one tomato and used Bloom Buster on the other.There's one "tomato box" on each side at the front of the garage. Both tomatoes performed well but by late August they looked ratty, for the lack of a better word. I cut them both back, quite hard, and that's when I started using each product. Now they're both green, lush and producing. So now I have confidence in both products.

There are major discussions on the product and some say there is no evidence it works. It has worked for me so I'm a fan of it.

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Augusta, GA(Zone 8a)

Nice and cool weather here, I have checked my garden and discovered the Sunset clematis is putting out buds, she is the only one. John Warren did groo some, I guess next year will be better. here is the Sunset buds. Also my Confederate Rose is blooming it is about 8-9 feet tall, full of bloomes and buds. Life is little bit slower, but is still good. Etelka

I even got me a cat, no name yet, but is comming to my door every morning. I guess it is because I feed it.

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

It's always better to know they're growing than turning black and ugly, Etelka.

Aw, give that kitty a name. Seems like it wants a home with good food and is so lucky to have found you!

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