The Q&A Archives: Clematis

Question: I was told that I shouldn't plant Clematis in pots on the deck bccause they won't come up next year to cover my trellis. Can they thrive and grow large from year to year in pots or do they need to be put in the ground? I would have to move large Hostas to do this. Which is better please?

Answer: The only potential problem with growing a clematis in a container is remembering to provide winter protection for the roots. You can use insulated containers to keep the roots cool in the summer and keep them from freezing solid in the winter months.
The ideal container is one made out of stone, or reconstituted stone, with a 2 inch side wall, or an old cider or beer barrel made out of thick wood. Specially made wooden boxes that have been treated against rotting are also ideal, particularly if they have an inner skin, maybe of tin, to help preserve the wood. Thick-walled frost-resistant terracotta pots and urns and large strawberry pots look most attractive with a healthy clematis growing out of them. A minimum size of container is 18" wide by 18" high by 18" deep to provide adequate root room. Best wishes with your new clematis.

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