Clematis viticella

Clematis of the Month for February 2015

C. viticella©Ton Hannink



Section: Viticella

Subsection: Viticella

Distribution: China: South and Southeast Europe, Asia minor, Caucasus and Iran.

Flowering: end June - September

Habitat: Grows in light thickets, in forest edges or in hedges

First Recorded: Carl Linnaeus in Species Plantarium 1:543, 1753

The flowers of Clematis viticella are single, blue, blue violet and rose purple, between 3-6 cm in diameter. The 4 sepals are obovate with broad-cuneate base and apicate tip. The anthers are pale yellow. The flowers stand alone. The flowers are borne on the current year's shoot.

The seeds are very bulky and develop very well after 9-12 months.

The stems grow to maximum of 400 cms but mostly lower. During the Winter the most stems die down to 30-80 cms. New shoots start on these stems and also from the base of the plant. Good pruning of this species give the plants after some years a plant with a lot of stems and therefore a lot of flowers.

Clematis viticella is a very useful Clematis in the garden and during our trip in Sweden we saw a lot of them in the gardens full of flowers. This species has no problems in the garden and has a very long life. For that reason the most viticella cultivars/hybrids are ideal Clematis in the garden for most types of soil and temperature zones.

We looked for many years for plants from the nature (Editor: wild specimens) but never found any until a nursery friend told me that he had got young seedlings from Croatia. I got several young plants and they grew up without any difficulties. In the second year I got the first flowers and I was very surprised about the variability of the form, size and color of the flowers. I distributed some wild plants to other Clematis hobbyists. It will be very interesting if we find also this species in other countries so that we can compare the flowers and leaves.
C. viticella seedling from Croatia©Ton Hannink
C. viticella seedling from Croatia
C. viticella seedling from Croatia©Ton Hannink
C. viticella seedling from Croatia
C. viticella seedlings from Croatia showing variation in form©Ton Hannink
C. viticella seedlings from Croatia showing variation in form

The Clematis viticella in the gardens differs with this species from Croatia. My viticella in the garden is darker, smaller and more a hanging bell form than the wild species and we do not know where the plant comes from. This species is ideal as a combination plant with small trees, shrubs and also roses. You can create beautiful combination because the flowers are dark and later in the season.
C. viticella from Croatia©Ton Hannink
C. viticella from Croatia
C. viticella from Sweden©Ton Hannink
C. viticella from Sweden
C. viticella from Sweden©Ton Hannink
C. viticella from Sweden

Pruning group 3. Clematis viticella must be pruned hard so that in spring the older stems have only a length of 30 cms.


Ton Hannink Ton Hannink



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