How to Grow and Care for Clematis

Spring Hill Nursery's resident gardening expert offers tips of growing and caring for clematis vines. Learn the essentials of clematis care, the best way of protecting the plant's roots and of the ideal companion plant for your clematis.


I'd like to share something personal with you about myself. It's no secret, but I love purple. Purple is my absolute favorite color, so when I'm looking for a vine, something that's just going to flood my garden with color, I'm looking for something bright purple. So, what better vine to choose than clematis! Look at this stunner! Look at these five inch blooms with this beautiful rich, velvety purple color! You know, to create a dramatic look like this is a lot easier than you would think. What you want to do first is choose a location against a trellis or an arbor or maybe a post that's either in full sun or partial shade. And of course, that's going to have your clematis grow and bloom like mad. But the other thing you want to keep in mind has to do with the feet or the roots of your clematis. They like to stay nice and cool and moist, so what you want to do is protect them the best you can. And you can do this either by planting something in front of it, you see we've got some young daylilies right in front, but also make sure you mulch it so that they're nice and protected. Now there's two ways to use clematis. You can do it like we've done here as a mass planting to create just a splash of one color, or you can plant it with a companion plant. One of the best companion plants for clematis is a climbing rose. Okay, now you might think a rose? A rose belongs in a rose garden! No, no, no, no no! Roses are great companion plants, particularly for clematis. Now here's why. What you would do is take a clematis right against the fence and by bringing this rose and planting it right in front of your clematis, what you're doing is, you're protecting the roots. And they're very non invasive, so they actually play really well together. And as they both continue to climb and bloom, you're going to see a stunning mix of blooms. Now here I've chosen Jack Manny, which is my favorite clematis, it's deep, dark purple, and this is a hot pink climbing rose called High Society. As you can tell, I'm not into subtlety, and so, I'm really excited about what it's going to do for my fence.