SMALL-FLOWERED GROUP (continued)
This is a small group containing clematis that have been hybridized by crossing Clematis texensis with a large-flowered parent. (We have not included the species C. texensis in this group even if it does bear its name. We include C. texensis in the Viorna Section.)
Interestingly, the flowers in this group more or less suggest the flowers of C. texensis in that they are basically not flat but are tulip- or bell-shaped. However, for the most part, the flowers in this group are much larger than those of the species. The tulip-shaped flowers are generally held upright. The bells are more nodding.
Plants in this group do best in full sun, especially C. ‘Duchess of Albany’ which we find does not produce its soft-pink tubular flowers well unless it has sun for the majority of the day. When it is happy, it can become a substantial vine. The modern, and very popular, C. ‘Princess Diana’ is exceptionally attractive and easy-to-grow. The mauve-pink sepals with contrasting rich pink central bars make her flowers quite dazzling, a little like op-art. C. ‘Gravetye Beauty’ has the gloss and glamour of a tube of “Fire and Ice” lipstick which it resembles in color. It, too, is a fine grower and can get farily tall, its red flowers accenting the garden from summer to fall.
Pruning is easy on these plants. Cut them back hard at the end of the winter and give them a feed to encourage new growth. These climbers need trellises or shrubs to support them.
The plants in this group of clematis are derived from one or more clematis in Section Viorna. Some of the species that are included in this Section Viornae are C. addisonii, C. crispa, C. fusca, C. inanthina, C. pitcheri, C. reticulata, and C. texensis. Many of these species are found in the eastern and southern parts of the United States. Some of them are Asian in origin.
This group contains clematis that are woody climbers, subshrubs or herbaceous perennials, in other words, plants that are variable in their growth habits. An example of a woody climber is C. ‘Odoriba’ which grows to eight feet or more. C. ‘Sophie’ is an herbaceous perennial that stands just below thigh-high and produces small purple-blue bells in early summer.
The flowers of the clematis in this group are variable in size, but are generally bell-shaped with four sepals. The flowers are more or less nodding in habit. A few clematis in this group like C. ‘Odoriba’ hold their bells out toward the viewer allowing a good look at the flower interior. Flowers have large bright pink sepals with white central bars. Although the flowers in this group may be smallish, the majority have unusually long bloom periods and are numerous. C. ‘Odoriba’, for instance, blooms all summer until the end of October here at Joy Creek Nursery. C. ‘Myofuku’ blooms from June to August. Sometimes it produces so many flowers in can look like a sheet of pink bells. C. ‘Haizawa’ blooms as it grows. Flowers start while it is a fairly short vine and continue as it reaches up to 10 feet in height, a process that continues into the autumn.
Because all of the plants in the group bloom on the current year’s growth, they should all be cut back at the end of winter and then fertilized to promote new growth.
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