At this time of year we are often overwhelmed by what is going on in the garden. Things are bursting with color, while others are unfurling delicately. All of a sudden the fence which we drove past for the last year is covered with blooms again, what can it be the climbs 30ft into that conifer that I see? Ahh yes, it is the delicate yet so,so rampant Clematis montana (Anemone Clematis) in bloom again.
Anemone Clematis is well named as far as the flower is concerned. It is named because the flower is very reminiscent of the Japanese Anemone which blooms in the fall. this Clematis has the same color range, petal structure and delicate fragrance which some describe as Vanilla-like. It is not surprising in that both the Clematis and Anemone are from the same family, the Rununculus(Ranunculaceae) or Buttercup family.
Clematis montana does indeed come from a mountainous part of the world, starting in Afghanistan and moving through the Himalayan region east into Hubei province of China. It has been with us for quite a long time having been discovered in the 1818 in Nepal. It was introduced into the garden by Lady Amherst around 1831. E.H. Wilson(Chinese Wilson) introduced the first pink variety Clematis montana ‘rubens’ which is from China and has lovely purple flushed foliage. More recently new developments have brought us more types, deeper petal colors and even a double or two.
It is hard not to be charmed by these delicate blooms of Anemone Clematis, especially when they are on a young plant which has not grown woody and wild. This will pass if it is placed in the wrong spot and starts to overtake a more weaker growing neighbor or house.
We learn that the Latin meaning of ’klema’ is climbing, and that is just what this plant does with glee. These Anemone Clematis can grow to 25-30ft(8-10m) in length and are very tough and tolerant of poor conditions. The only requirements are a cool spot for the for the roots, as much sun as possible for a good crop of flowers every year and lots of water in the spring growing season. One important thing to remember in placement of the plant is they do not like their roots to be disturbed, so once planted you should not try to move it to another location.
Clematis montana can take pruning, as it gets out of control or shaggy. Pruning is best done after it blooms and can be quite severe, I have seen plants that have been cut right down, this keeps them from getting too tall and woody, the foliage will stay where you can appreciate it more. Anemone Clematis are zone 6(-15c or 10f.)
Links to This Plant:
The national collection of Clematis montana:
Growing and placement of Anemone Clematis:
A site devoted to all forms of Clematis: