XP: Questions about clematis planting

pbl_ge(5/6)February 4, 2014

We're planning to rebuild the deck that sits in the backyard to the east of the garage. The previous owners used to have a climbing rose on the garage wall that overhangs the deck, which was beautiful but thorny (I don't like plants that want to hurt me). We're thinking of installing a trellis on the back of the garage to hide the hideous baby blue siding (unpaintable). Then we want to plant some clematis (Is it clematii? I never know.) to climb said trellis.

1. We were thinking of Huldine for this job. Does that seem a good choice? We're hoping it will robustly scale the trellis without necessitating the use of a ladder too often. Is that crazy?

2. Would you interplant something else for the contrast? I'm worried that Huldine will just overwhelm anything else.

3. How many plants would you use for a 20' garage? We don't need it to fully cover the wall, but don't want it to look skimpy, either.

4. I'm pretty sure this will be enough sun, since it gets full blast all day until noon. If anyone disagrees with me, let me know.

I'd appreciate any other thoughts. I've grown a few clematis very successfully in the past, but I've never tried anything on this scale.


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

why are you asking if i run windows XP???


ps: if you grew two successfully .. why would more matter??? ... what exactly are you wondering about.. other than planting a monoculture??? .. why not throw in some other vines???? .. just in case some clem plague rolls thru ...????? ... vining fragrant honeysuckle..??... the autumn fragrant clem??? .... and of course.. i immediately blank on other options .. lol...

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:48PM
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If you want another type of clematis, Betty Corning is pretty large and vigorous as well. Betty has lavender bells and a light scent to some folks' noses. Both Huldine and Betty Corning are type three pruning (hard prune in winter every year.) After the first few years they will regrow quickly to cover the trellis in spring. I don't know why you would need a ladder unless there are some dead sprigs still clinging to the trellis that you want to remove after pruning. I just cut back to 1 or 2 sets of buds and pull the old vines off whatever it is growing on.

In order for your clematis to climb on its own, your trellis should have pieces that are narrow enough for the leaf stems (petioles) of the clematis to wrap around, so no wooden lattice trellis unless you are going to also have something like a wire grid fastened on. I keep trellis pieces 1/2" or less in width, and usually aim for 3/8" or less. So your trellis might not hide much in winter unless you leave the dead vines until late winter before cutting back.

I think I would plant every 3' - 4' along the wall to give a moderately full look, but you could plant closer or farther apart. Plant the clematis a few inches deeper than in the pot, mulch the ground around the plants (though not right against the stems) to help maintain even moisture, and water if the soil stops feeling slight damp below the surface.

(Just in case you want a different route, a response about the siding being "unpaintable". If it's vinyl or aluminum it can be painted with proper prep and materials.)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:23AM
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If there is a chance the clematis will intertwine or grow into each other, then it is far less trouble to select all from the same pruning group. The spacing nhbabs suggests sounds about right, as clems tend to want to grow up, not out. They will need some help with this by way of a support system. If the trellis not tall enough, consider using fishing line or nylon netting to help. IME, they just won't adhere very well to aluminum siding - they need something small to grasp their vining tendrils around.

Because of their various pruning requirements, clems tend not to play well with other vines - it can be a major headache attempting to sort through and cut back what needs to get cut back while not disturbing others. And many other vines are just too vigorous to combine with most clematis hybrids - like the honeysuckle suggested, for example. It would easily overtake and swamp the clems.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Am I the only person who doesn't prune my wall of clematis? Some years I take the dead stuff off in the winter --- others-- I do nothing. They grow right up on top of the told stuff and completely cover it so why bother knowing what to prune and when? I have 5 varieties growing on the south side of my garage on a trellis.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 5:18PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Ryse - I'm a rebel too! :-) I mix pruning groups and am rather cavalier about how I prune! I rarely (can't ever remember doing so....) cut things back to the 2 sets of buds level - I just whack off any winterkilled bits, trim things back to a logical place if they're growing where I don't want them to, and otherwise leave them alone, other than to give them a shake or two in the spring to help remove some of last year's dried leaves. The 'improper' pruning doesn't seem to bother the clematises at all and it's less work for me! :-) It's taken a few years to get going well but Henryi is now growing and flowering nicely into my Chinese wisteria tree, so I wouldn't be afraid to try combining a clematis with whatever I thought might work/look good with it. Experimenting is always fun....!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 9:37PM
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This has been very helpful, thanks! ESPECIALLY good tip about the narrow support--I knew that somewhere deep in my brain, but had totally forgotten. We'll be sure to provide something good for twining.

I also really appreciated the confessions about clematis pruning. Heh heh. I wonder how often we'll prune ours?


    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 2:19PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Please check the clematis forum for my suggestions.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 3:10PM
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SouthCountryGuy Zone 4b-5 SE BC(Zone 4b-5 SE BC Canada)

I don't have anything to add with regards to clematis but I agree with nhbabs on being able to paint vinyl and alumn. siding. You can pretty much paint anything.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 12:24AM
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