The Q&A Archives: companions to clematis

Question: Hi, I hope you're having a great day! I have 2 main questions:I would like to know 6-10 specific plants (shrubs or perennials) you would recommend in a small space as root shade and color/leaf accent plants for clematis. (Would rhubarb be a good one?)
2. The varieties of clematis I'm considering are: 'Roko-Kolla', 'Edomurasaki','PolishSpirit','Cecile', 'Willy', 'Durandii', 'Jackamanii', 'Hagley Hybrid', 'Mrs. Cholmondley', 'C. cartmanii 'Blaaval', C. paniculata 'Sweet Autumn', 'Etoile Violette'. Which of these are easiest to grow and maintain? What does a clematis novice need to know about them?
Thanks for your help!

Answer: There are both deciduous and evergreen types of clematis. Named varieties of hybrid clematis bloom in 2 different ways: some bloom on wood grown the previous year and some on wood grown in the same year. Clematis in the Jackman group of hybrids (such as jackmanii) bloom on new growth (wood grown in the same year). After flowering, a portion of old shoots should be cut back severely. Clematis enjoy a rich, humusy soil. Give them lots of organic matter such as compost or composted manure. Clematis prefer to have their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade, so mulch is helpful to keep roots cool and to keep competing weeds at bay. Two evergreen types are: Clematis armandii (Evergreen Clematis) 16-20 ft. White flower in spring. Sun/Light Shade. Hardy <15? F. Moderate water. A Large evergreen vine with fragrant flowers. Clematis montana 'Rubens' 16-20 ft. Pink flower in spring. Sun/Light Shade. Hardy <15F. Moderate water.

Companion plants for clematis are too numerous to list, but could include: lobelia
pachysandra, myrtle, sweet alyssum, ivy, pansy (viola, Johnny jump ups), Hemerocallis (Daylilies are among the easiest of perennials to grow and will last a lifetime if given an occasional transplanting), Kniphofia (red hot poker), and, roses of every kind.

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