Louis on the Loose

Armand's Clematis: Today: Hooray! In Full Bloom.

 

 

 

 

Here's how to grow Armand's clematis :

 

Latin Name

Clematis armandii

Common Name

Armand's clematis

Family

Ranunculaceae, the ranunculus family

What kind of plant is it?

Energetic evergreen vine, with showy flowers as well as showy foliage

Hardiness

Zones 7 - 9

Habit

Climbs on and up almost anything, by means of tendril-like extensions at the tips of the leaves.  Can form a large canopy atop a pergola or through very large shrubs and small trees.

Rate of Growth

Very fast.

Size in ten years

In a mild climate at the upper end of its range, to twenty feet and more in all directions.  Smaller but still impressive in colder climates.

Texture

Evergreen foliage of leaflets in elegantly-pendant threes, for an unmistakably Clematis armandii look.  This is a vine that is identifiable from the next block, even the next zip code.  Dangling tendrils of foliage only increase the laciness.  Innumerable white star-shaped flowers bring a snow-capping effervescence to the vine in early Spring.

Grown for

Foliage as well as flowers.  Also as a hard-working screen or shade-providing canopy.

Flowering season

Early Spring: the flower buds are formed on last-year's growth.

Culture

Provide adequate space and an extensive root-run for the expected dimensions of growth in your locale.  Like all clematis, plenty of sun for the foliage, some shade and always adequate moisture at the roots.  At the lower limits of hardiness, the evergreen foliage can get Winter-damaged.  Winter damage will also destroy the dormant flower buds too.  So provide shelter from sweeping winds when possible.

How to handle it

The vine gets weighty as well as expansive, so only sturdy supports are long-lasting.  Looks sensational swagging across the top of large fences or archways over walkways, or canopying atop high pergolas.  (Allow plenty of high head-room for the pendant strands, which are clustered voluptuously with blossom.)  Prune without qualm, but only immediately after blooming.  Every few years a truly radical pruning is needed: the vine builds up a thatch of dead stems and old foliage at the bottom of the canopy—which is just what you see when looking up.

Downsides

If only it were hardier!  And where it is hardy, the vine's vigor can get the best of you if you don't show a stern hand with your pruners every other Spring.

Variants

There are pink cultivars like 'Hendersonii Rubra', as well as white and (supposedly) hardier cultivars like 'Apple Blossom' and 'Snowdrift'.  Even so, this is definitely not a plant for Zone 6.  Zones 7 - 9 only, alas—or in a large container that gets a cool greenhouse in Winter.

Availability

Where it's solidly hardy, readily available at garden centers.  It would be hard to see too much Clematis armandii.  On-line at the Northern edges of its range.

Propagation

Cuttings and layering.

Native habitat

China

 
 
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