Skip to content
Refine search

Best uses

Useful for covering walls and fences, clematis can also be trained over other plants. Care needs to be taken to ensure that climbers do not smother valuable plants. Therefore, it is best to train them over well-established trees or large shrubs.

Physical characteristics

A vigorous, woody, evergreen vine that can climb over 9m.

Flowers and foliage

Juvenile foliage is trifoliate with lobed margins, whereas adult leaves have entire margins. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants. Star-shaped white flowers are produced through spring, followed by masses of attractive fluffy seed heads.

Preferred site

Prefers permanently damp but not sodden soil, in a situation where it can grow up into the sun. Let it scramble through other trees and shrubs to get to the light, but make sure its base is in the shade. This clematis will tolerate exposed conditions, but leaves will be smaller and thicker.

Preparation for planting

Prepare the planting site when soil is moist and easily worked, such as after the first rains in spring and autumn. Remove all weeds and incorporate bark, compost or other organic material. Before planting, ensure the root ball is saturated and remove the planter pot with minimal root disturbance. Trim any broken roots and plant at the same level as in the container. Dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball, press in and water once planted. Plant with some general slow-release fertiliser and then every spring, apply an organic fertiliser (such as blood and bone) at a handful per square metre.

Maintenance tips

Climbing plants require similar types of maintenance as trees and shrubs. Apply an annual dressing (50g/m2) of general-purpose fertiliser. The first summer and autumn after planting is critical for young plants, so water thoroughly during dry periods. Mulching helps conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Organic materials, such as sawdust and bark, contribute to soil structure. Be sure to keep deep mulch away from plant stems.

Clematis is easily grown from seed. It can also be grown by taking cuttings, but these can be fickle and slow to strike.

Ecological and biodiversity benefits

Attracts bees and butterflies.

Pests and diseases

In humid climates, it can be prone to powdery mildew. It can be also prone to phytophthora in waterlogged soils. Protect young plants from slugs and snails.

Location at Auckland Botanic Gardens

Native Identification Trail