There are 12 groups of clematis and several hundred varieties to choose from. The colours fill the spectrum and you can get big flowers, small flowers, early flowers, late flowers, small plants, evergreen ones and absolute monsters – so how do you choose!
Well, in a small garden, you only want the shorter growing varieties – so avoid anything that says Montana or Viticella for a start! The Alpine, Early and Late flowering varieties are all pretty good in smaller gardens.
We use C Durandii and C Gravetye Beauty in our designs, because they are pretty simple to look after, in that they prefer to scramble through shrubs (so no trellis and tying in) and at the end of the year you remove the dead foliage and up they pop next year!
Whatever you choose, there are a couple of planting tips to remember. Firstly, Clematis on the whole hate sun baked hot ground for their roots, so if you are planting a clematis in a sunny spot, mulch the soil thickly to keep the ground cool and moist. Secondly, plant deep, Clematis have a nasty habit of developing a disease called ‘wilt’, the tips of the plant flop droop and die , quickly followed by the rest of it..your only remedy is to plant the plant in a deep hole, so that the base of the plant is underground. Then if you get wilted, you can cut off the dead stuff and it should regrow – hopefully!