Clematis forum: Let's Talk Zones!

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Name: Evey Blalock
South Louisiana - Zone 8b/9a (Zone 8b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Dog Lover Ponds Herbs Garden Art
Daylilies Irises Clematis Roses Region: Louisiana
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BlissfulGarden
Feb 23, 2010 11:29 AM CST
I received two messages today that discussed growing zones for clematis. One related a story about a nurseryman who insisted that clematis wouldn't grow in the warm zones... another asked a question about clematis that wouldn't take the cold. This touches on a discussion that's very relevant in growing clematis... just what IS the proper growing zone for many of them?!?!

If you look at older growth charts, many of them top out the growing zones at Z9, implying that anything warmer is just not going to be a good idea for clematis. But, some newer charts have gone the complete opposite way and list Z11 for almost every cultivar (the American Clematis Society site is a good example of this). Then you have listings on Clematis on the Web that have no zone listed at all... leaving gardeners to guess! It can be very confusing... especially for a new gardener. The bottom line is: clematis are relatively new here in the U.S., so many cultivars just haven't been tried and reported on in every region!

Here's a great example... florida Sieboldii. Brushwood has it listed as Z7-11, American Clematis Society has it listed as Z4-11, Clematis on the Web has no zone listing, Chalk Hill has it listed as Z7-9, and most Japanese sites (where it originated) has it listed as the equivalent of Z5-11. On the recommendation of my grower, I have it listed on my own site as Z6-11. So who is correct? When there is such a variation, I typically go with the opinion of the originator... in this case, the cultivar originated in Japan. Sieboldii is grown all over the Asian areas, including Mongolia where it gets quite cold... so I believe it will do fine in Z6... but I certainly would hesitate to suggest it to someone who lives in Z4. As more gardeners report on their experiences with various cultivars in the different US regions, we will be able to get a better picture of true zone limitations... but until then, it's a bit cloudy!

What cultivars have done well for you in your zone? Do you have stories to share about pushing the zone or misinformation at your local nurseries? Share, please!
~Evey =)

"Grow where you are planted." - My gpa
Name: Mike
Long Beach, Ca.
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Roses Region: California Hummingbirder Farmer
Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs Butterflies Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Calsurf73
Feb 27, 2010 9:27 PM CST
Since I'm in Zone 10a, I can tell you that for many years, you couldn't find a Clematis at nurseries around here...which is baffling considering the American Clematis Society is very close to me.

Even when I worked at nurseries, we were to tell people that they wouldn't grow here...so obviously, we didn't carry them. IF in fact nurseries did carry them, they were few and far between.

Once I even wrote to a grower and wanted to order one and they said they wouldn't grow here.

About 10 years ago I went on a garden tour and someone here had several clematis...people were amazed. I finally found one (Will Goodwin) at a hardware store and bought it. I planted it, followed the instructions for pruning it and every year, I'd get MAYBE 4 blooms. I basically gave up on it for about 6 years and got the same results.

Then about 6 years ago I started seeing them in 5gal. pots at SOME nurseries...to the tune of $50.00 EACH !!! Those nurseries that did carry them only had Jackmanii, Nelly Moser and Wisley. Not wanting to risk losing a $50.00 plant, I passed. In late summer the same nursery had the same plants marked down to $10.00 so I bought a Jackmanii...only because it appeared it was one of the easiest to grow...and it DID grow...amazingly enough.

The following year I bought a Wisley...and it grew, too.

I was paranoid about the pruning aspect...doing it wrong, the wrong time, how far back, not doing the correct method for the correct group, etc. etc. and didn't want to push my luck.

NO ONE I knew grew them, so I asked Zuzu how she pruned hers and she basically said, "I don't prune any of mine. I don't pay attention to any of those pruning details because in our climate (hers and mine, essentially ) we don't need to since our winters aren't like the East coast...and mine do just fine".

I took her advice and have never pruned mine again...and they do very well. They get better each year with no fussing...just regular feeding and watering.

The nurseries here ARE carrying them now, but only in the spring...and the selction HAS increased. but it isn't vast by any means.

I'm looking forward to the ones I ordered from SimplyClems since they are reportedly good for this climate.

I don't understand why growers as well as garden books list some plants as not growing in certain zones. For a very long time, most of the nice daylilies were advertised as not good for zone 10...but I've ordered several and have gotten them in trades from people in other zones and they thrive here.

This just goes to show you that you can't really believe everything you read about certain plants not growing in your zone. I bought into that myth for too long !





Name: Mike
Long Beach, Ca.
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Roses Region: California Hummingbirder Farmer
Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs Butterflies Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Calsurf73
Feb 27, 2010 9:42 PM CST
Here is Jackmanii with Dream Weaver cl. rose in zone 10a

edited twice for spelling...oops !

Name: Mike
Long Beach, Ca.
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Roses Region: California Hummingbirder Farmer
Daylilies Cat Lover Bulbs Butterflies Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Calsurf73
Feb 27, 2010 9:48 PM CST
Henryi with Sunflare rose...you can't see the rose bloom, I was focusing on the Clem. in zone 10a

Thumb of 2010-02-28/Calsurf73/df334b
Name: Evey Blalock
South Louisiana - Zone 8b/9a (Zone 8b)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Dog Lover Ponds Herbs Garden Art
Daylilies Irises Clematis Roses Region: Louisiana
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BlissfulGarden
Mar 1, 2010 8:07 PM CST
Mike, thanks so much for that feedback!

You hit the nail on the head with the misinformation from nurseries and even growers. I think the bottom line is that nobody wanted to take a chance on recommending something that was untried in a new climate. There was no anecdotal European evidence for Zones 9b and below, so they just left those zones out completely in the ratings... leaving the impression that clematis could not grow there. That's one of the main reasons why an accurate database that is targeted to North America is so important.

It would be REALLY helpful if you could shoot me a cmail about which cultivars do really well for you there. If we could get "best performer" lists from every active member, we'd be well on our way to developing a great anecdotal base of info!
~Evey =)

"Grow where you are planted." - My gpa
Wisconsin
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JuliaJayne
Apr 11, 2010 8:27 AM CST
Many nurseries use what is considered a generic safe range. I experience the opposite problem that nurseries list plants zone 5 and up, even though a plant will grow successfully in zone 4 or lower. Nursery management simply does not take the time to seek and list correct zone information. Some nurseries are getting better at this, though. For those of you in colder zones, Joy Creek still uses, or at least was last time I checked in fall of last year, the generic safe range for zones, so I'm sure the high end isn't always right, either.

I know Dan from Brushwood is working with Edith Malak , President of ACS, to list the correct growing zones. on his site.

American Clematis Society had been collecting data about growing zones from their members, isn't available unless you join.

Clematis on the Web is collecting zone information from clematis growers around the world and will be publishing the data at some point. The entire industry will benefit from their efforts, I'm sure, and I expect it will be available without having to pay for it.
Name: Teri
Mount Bethel, PA
Charter ATP Member Region: Pennsylvania Hibiscus Container Gardener Clematis Region: Northeast US
Annuals Echinacea Winter Sowing Seed Starter Lilies I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Roses_R_Red
Apr 15, 2010 7:26 AM CST
I have received the 2 wonderfully healthy looking Florida Sieboldi from Simply Clems. Is the root system mature enough to put them out now in Zone 6a.

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