Clematis texensis Buckl.
C. texensis©Ton Hannink

Clematis of the Month for January 2010


Section: Viorna
Subsection: Viorna
Distribution: USA: Texas, Edwards Plateau mainly around the Colorado river.
Flowering: July-October
Habitat: Well-drained limestone, loam, sand, limestone cliffs and rocky slopes and on moist, humus-rich soils; in woodlands.
First Recorded: S.B. Buckley in Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 13:448, 1862.
First Discovered: By W.J. Bean l.c. in 1850 and introduced into cultivation by Max Leichtlin, Baden-Baden in 1868. Buckley collected the plant in 1859 and described in 1862.

C. texensis©Ton HanninkThe bell flowers of Clematis texensis are vividly red, between 20-30 mm long and 15-20 mm in diameter. The red color is special within the clematis species. The flower has 4 tepals. The flowers are on long petiolules of 15-18 cm.

It flowers from July through to at least the end of October, and sometimes into the first nights of frost. Older plants have a lot of flowers for this kind of plant and the fruits are beautiful with very big seeds.

The stems grow to 2-3 meters and therefore C. texensis makes a very handsome plant in the smaller garden, but the plant is rather sensitive and must be placed so that it is protected against damage. The stems sprout every year and grow to 2-3 meters so that the plant must have a protected place. Place the plant in a very sunny place and you will have a lot of flowers.

The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. In Holland the plant is probably hardy but I keep mine in a container because it is not common in mainland Europe. During winter I move the plant into a greenhouse, kept at 5 degrees Celsius. C. texensis hates wet soil during the winter, so in this period keep the plant rather dry. The plant is also sensitive and susceptible to mildew.

C. texensis©Ton HanninkThe plant can be used over a pergola, obelisk or trellis but is it best in a pot. If you use the plant in a small tree or shrub then you must ensure the shrub/tree is slow-growing.

Pruning is not needed but if you prune the young stems, you will get more stems and therefore also more flowers.

Propagation from seed is possible, the seeds germinate within 1-3 years at 20 degrees Celsius. You will probably get better results with GA3 [Editor's note: gibberellic acid, a plant hormone that can improve seed germination], and this year I am doing the first tests. Cuttings are almost impossible but there are good examples of grafting to be found in Germany.

Clematis texensis is very interesting for making crossings and there are beautiful examples of these in the market which can be propagated better by cuttings. Making crossings with C. texensis is not so easy.

A very interesting site about the native Clematis in the USA can be found at http://clematisviorna.info/links.html


Ton Hannink Ton Hannink



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