Roses and Clematis

Sow_what? Southern California InlandApril 7, 2014

I have Nelly Moser and Crystal Fountain Fountain, and would like to plant them with climbing roses. Good idea or bad? Any tips will be appreciated.


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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I don't see any problem. Some gardeners claim planting clematis in the II category poses a problem in spring pruning, but it never has for me--partly because the winters freeze back the plants usually to several feet tall, regardless of which category they belong in. On the other hand, I do plant mostly category III clematis--but I have forgotten why. They are more enduring? Class II clematis are susceptible to wilt? Something like that--but seriously, I really haven't found that much difference.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:49PM
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Sow_what? Southern California Inland

Thanks Kate. My recollection is that the big, showy clematis like the ones I have look spectacular when they're blooming, but pretty ratty in between. And that they need to be pruned back in order to bloom over and over. Is that the case with yours? How close to the rose do you plant the clematis? And do you do any pruning other than what's caused by winter freeze?

My clematis were in the care of my best friend. Her son brought them to me yesterday, so I'm not familiar with them at all.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:19AM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

I've grown about 25 clematis for years and years, but can't say I'm an expert on them. I only prune them in the early spring. I have never pruned them back later in the season in order to promote more bloom. Mine just bloom again when (and if) they decide to.

Sometimes in the summer the leaves get brown (lack of water, I presume) and I cut off any brown stuff (and quickly give them a good drink of water!).

Maybe the clematis forum has more information, but my understanding has always been that other than spring pruning, clematis just need to be watered regularly. Well, and fed in the spring--although I tend to forget to do that, for some reason, and they bloom wonderfully anyway.

My main problem with clematis is that it takes mine about 3 years to really start performing and produce those spectacular blooms all over the place.

My advice: don't fuss over clematis. They will do their own thing at their own rate. (If anyone knows otherwise, please join us -- I'm willing to learn.)


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Sow_what? Southern California Inland

Kate, thanks so much -- you've been really helpful. My friend talked me into getting the clematis at a time that was really bad for me. She took them from the start, and cared for them for several years. They are now blooming away with huge, awesome flowers. When she died recently, I expected to never see them again, but her son brought them to me the other day. I'd like to plant them with the roses in a garden named in her memory, and wanted to hear from others who had grown these two plants together. Even more than all the other blooms in this garden, these will always remind me of her.

Are they likely to be set back when I transplant them from their pots into the garden? I remember her telling me to plant them deep, like tomatoes.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 12:47PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Yes, plant them deep--with the stems partly underground.

I neglected to answer your question above. I plant my clematis 1-2 ft away from the rose. You can use a slanted stick to direct them to where you want them to climb, if necessary.

What will your climbing roses and clematis be climbing on? A fence? pillar? Whatever it is, make sure it is sturdy and "planted" deep enough so that it doesn't blow over in the first good wind storm--pulling everything down with it.

You will need to tie the climbing rose to whatever structure you are using. The clematis can climb on the rose if the rose is sturdy enough--or let the clem also climb partly on the support structure.

When you transplant a clem, it may not bloom very heavily the first year--and maybe not even the second year.

Oh, yes--make sure the clem is not planted anywhere that water might collect. That could kill off a clem rather quickly.

I hope we get to see some lovely pics later on of your rose-clem combos.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 6:27PM
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toolbelt68 (7)(7)

Here is some info I have collected about pruning clematis.
It's from:

"Taking The Mystery Out Of Pruning

Clematis are divided into 3 distinctive groups. Knowing what group your clematis falls under, will guide you on when and how to prune.

Group A or Group 1
This group is the early flowering species that produce bloom on previous yearâÂÂs growth. Prune within a month after flowering. This allows the vine to make new growth that produces next yearâÂÂs flowers. Prune out damaged or dead wood or cut back overgrown shoots to keep it in bounds of the space allotted for it.

Group B or Group 2
This group includes the early, large-flowered cultivars. These are all large single, semi-double or double blossoms. Flowers bloom on both previous yearâÂÂs growth and new growth. Two flower sessions from one vine! Prune before new growth begins around mid-February or first part of March. Pruning in the fall is another option. Prune out damaged or dead wood and lightly prune the portions of the vine that bloomed to keep it in shape and to keep it from getting bare legs.

Group C or Group 3
This group is the late blooming species and cultivars. Bloom times are summer and fall and all bloom on current seasonâÂÂs growth. Prune severely down to within one foot of soil level before new growth begins (mid-February or first part of March). You may also prune in the fall. I prefer to cut it back in the fall when leaves are brown to about three feet. I followup in spring with pruning the vine to one foot high. Admittedly I sometimes leave the vine on the arbor over winter, if my fall cleanup chores get behind."


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:01AM
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toolbelt68 (7)(7)

I agree with dublinbay, plant them deep and cover the root area as they like shade over the base of the plant.

I just use my post hole digger and make a very deep hole, fill it with good dirt/fertilizer and pack it down. That makes it easy for the roots to go deep and find food along the way.

This post was edited by Toolbelt68 on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 11:22

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:06AM
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I was going to say that some clematises might overpower some roses and and possibly affect the rose negatively but I can't say that anymore after seeing toolbelt's picture. After that, I have to say, go for it!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 11:28AM
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What Kate said. Don't worry too much about fussing with them after they have been well located and planted.

I have 6 growing up rose bushes, an I have no idea which "group" any of them are in, and I don't hard prune any of them, ever, and they grow and bloom just fine every year.

Here is one (the very old jackmanii) which has taken up with two roses at once!


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 1:56PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

Sincere sympathy on the passing of your friend. Lovely sentiment to honor her in this way.

Highly recommend John Howells' very helpful & practical gardener's book on the subject, The Rose and the Clematis. Many illustrations of various ways clematis can be planted & guided to supports, along with descriptions of roses & clematis that do well together, stunning photos & solid info on growing & training both. The varieties he mentions are widely available, but may need the usual tweaking for conditions in his native England & our USA gardens. A used hardcover copy can be bought on the cheap.

Here is a link that might be useful: John Howells The Rose and the Clematis

This post was edited by vasue on Wed, Apr 9, 14 at 15:11

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:00PM
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vasue(7A Charlottesville)

A couple of good sites to begin researching your clematis are Clematis on the Web and Help Me Find's clematis section, which includes comments, ratings & garden photos just like its roses section.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clematis on the Web

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 3:10PM
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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Tool and Jacqueline--love your roses and clem pics!


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 4:17PM
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Here is another picture - the rose (old HT called Cl Caroline Testout) is just staring to bloom, which I didn't even realize until I came around the corner (I love this time of year!).


    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 4:43PM
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Sow_what? Southern California Inland

Kate, I should probably take pictures of the clematis now, while they're pretty and blooming, especially if they'll not bloom for a while after transplant. If I plant the clematis with roses, they'll likely be growing on an in-progress arbor, or with a rose pillared on a stake. They'll both be sturdy, assuming I can ever get them finished.

Toolbelt and Jackie, your pictures are stunning! And yes, I'm hoping to locate them well so they stay as pretty as they are now. Our weather can be brutally hot, and I remember Carolyn saying that they like their roots shaded and their blooms in sun -- a bit tricky. I also recall seeing clematis that didn't look too good during "down" times. Is that the case? If so, it seems they should be planted where they're hidden, with the vines and blooms directed where they'll be seen.

Vasue, thank you for your kind words, and for the links! That book is a great deal at 61 cents! Can't wait to read it.

I have two other option for the clematis in this garden. One is to plant them behind nearly 7' tall ligustrum topiary cones, and train them to spiral up the topiaries. The other is to plant the clematis at the base of a tree, and spiral it up the tree. Are these ridiculous ideas, or might they be feasible?

Thanks everyone, for all the help. I'm continously amazed at the generosity on this forum!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 4:10AM
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For shaded roots you can plant some sort of perennial near the base of the clematis. Here is mine and there are Becky daisies and false indigo that get sizable enough to provide the shade at ground level.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:18AM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

It's a myth that clematis like shaded roots - what they really like is moist roots. If you give them lots of water, there's no need to shade the roots. I grow about 60 clematis plants, not always well, and I haven't shaded a one of them. I don't consider myself an expert by any means, but I've read enough on the clematis forum to have at least picked up this tidbit over the years. Water them and forget the shade.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:28AM
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Sow_what? Southern California Inland

Opheliathornv, that seems to be my experience with a number of "shade plants" as well. Our summers can be brutally hot, but I grow shade caladiums in a pond, and they can take full, blazing sun when grown in water. I guess I'll have to consider nearby plants when choosing my strategy for the clematis.

Subk3, your clematis and roses are beautiful! What varieties are these?

I'm still curious to hear if anyone has thoughts about growing a clematis up a tree, or winding it around a 7' high ligustrum topiary cone.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:48AM
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Campanula UK Z8

I have various clems - some of which certainly do grow into trees (flammula, terniflora, jouiana praecox) as long as they can find enough material to twine around on their way skywards (I use odd bits of netting attached to the tree trunks)......or I have been inclined to let some of them simply scramble around at ground level, especially the herbaceous integrifolias such as Rooiguchi, Durandii). I have a simple rule of thumb for pruning - if they flower before midsummer, I do a minimal prune of spent stems after final flowering around September........while later bloomers are hard pruned in spring at the start of the flowering season. If in doubt, leave them alone - they will self=prune, losing old, brittle wood quite naturally although after a decade or so, some of the montanas and armandii can handle being cut back to the ground and starting over.
Personally, I don't like the large flowered ones at all but have been investigating some of the species such as texensis, pitcherii, cirrhossa, viorna and crispa.....but essentially, clems are easy plants requiring very little to produce a great display. Some of the larger ones do seem happier in part shade....or even on north-facing walls as they have a tendency to bleach out to a much paler colour (pinks are especially prone to this).

apols for dodgy spelling (as usual)

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 6:21AM
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Btw, beautiful pics everyone! I can't wait for my roses and clematis to start blooming - usually around the 1st week of June.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:31PM
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jannike those are the terribly common New Dawn and Jackmanii.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 12:56PM
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Sow_what? Southern California Inland

Subk3, they may be common, but in bloom, the combination is very pretty. I hope I can get mine to look half as good as all the beautiful pictures posted here. -jannike

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 1:10PM
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