The Q&A Archives: South Cross Clematis

Question: I purchased (2)

Answer: The plants you purchased are known as southern cross clematis and they are the result of crossing two hybrids. You can consider them Jackmanii clematis hybrids and in terms of growing conditions and pruning practices as you would a Jackmanii.

There are more than 400 named cultivars of hybrid clematis created by crossing and back-crossing among some 200 wild species from China, Japan, Europe, Australasia, Africa and North America. The Jackman group of hybrids includes the original cross, Clematis X jackmanii, between Clematis lanuginosa and C. viticella, as well as dozens of hybrids and selections developed by using it as one of the parents.

Members of the Jackman group of clematis produce flowers on the current season's growth, and therefore bloom later in the season than do clematis cultivars that produce their flowers on the previous season's growth. The Jackman cultivars climb with twining stems and cling with leaf stalks that twist and clasp. With good support, vines can reach a length of 10 ft (3 m) in a single growing season. The vines are semiwoody and the deciduous leaves are trifoliate or simple, opposite, and 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long. The spectacular flowers are abundant and large, to 7 in (17.8 cm) across, with 4-6 petal-like sepals, each about 2 in (5 cm) long. Produced from midsummer until first frost, flowers of the various cultivars may be single or double and come in a rainbow of colors. They are saucer shaped and face up and outward, proud of their singular beauty. The fruit is a very distinctive achene (dry, 1-seeded capsule) with a 2 in (5 cm) long silver gray wispy "tail" covered with long silky hairs. They are packed in long lasting fluffy clusters.

Since Jackman clematis produces flowers on the current season's growth, they should be pruned to the ground in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
Light: Clematis hybrids do best with their foliage in full sun or partial shade, and their roots in constant full shade. Plant clematis in the shade of a rock or other structure, or grow other low, leafy plants over the root zone. Clematis do best with an eastern exposure so they are protected from the strongest midday sun.

Clematis need plenty of moisture during their growing season. They do best in light, loamy soil that drains rapidly.

Grow Jackman clematis on a trellis, wall or fence. Let it scramble over a rock wall or twine over an arbor. Many gardeners plant clematis at the base of a rose or other shrub and let it climb up and through the branches. Use an early blooming shrub or rose as a host for the late blooming clematis. Jackman clematis politely refrains from dominating its host. As cut flowers, the large blooms of Jackman clematis make an attractive table piece floating in a bowl of water. The curious fruiting heads, clusters of fluffy gray featherlike filaments, are long lasting and very effective in dried arrangements.

Hope this information is helpful!

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