The Q&A Archives: This Spring I'm Going To Plant A Clematis To Grow Up A Large Tree And I Was Wondering If I Should Us

Question: This spring I'm going to plant a clematis to grow up a tree
and I was wondering if I should use more than 1 plant? The
tree is about 30 feet tall, but the trunk is about 2 feet
wide. Will 1 plant do?

Answer: Some types of clematis are larger (and longer) growing than others, so it will depend on what variety you are using. A fall- blooming or sweet autumn clematis,for example, can climb to thirty feet and so one would probably be enough. I do have a concern however about how the vine will climb the tree -- they do need a rather fine textured support for their tendrils to twine and grip around -- usually a wire mesh or trellis is needed or a very fine network of twigs and branches. In other words, it can't climb up a bare trunk the way an English ivy or Virginia creeper could because it has no "sticky pads" to cling by. These vines also need plenty of sun on their tops in order to grow and bloom well. In most cases where they are used on trees the trees are smaller, more open varieties such as dogwoods or Japanese maples which allow dappled light to reach the vine. Finally, make sure your clematis will have a good root run with good rich and adequately moist yet well drained soil. Allow it three years to become established -- they take their time but they are definitely worth the wait!

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