Garden Q&A: There is much to like about clematis
Q: I was given a beautiful arbor as a holiday gift, and I'd like to cover it with a clematis vine. Are there some varieties that grow faster than others? Do you have any favorites?
A: You are right to ask about the growth rate of clematis. So many of them are slow pokes, and if you want to cover your arbor quickly, choosing a slower growing variety isn't a great idea.
One selection that would be a good option for you is the sweet autumn clematis. It grows up to 10 feet in a single year, bears a multitude of small, creamy-white, fragrant flowers late in the season, and is very easy to grow and prune. For many years, sweet autumn clematis has been a personal favorite.
That being said, a few years ago I discovered another fast-growing selection that has since become my favorite — Clematis tangutica.
This beautiful yellow clematis is a real show stopper. It is a late-summer/fall bloomer with balloon-like yellow buds that explode into four-tepaled, 2- to 3-inch-wide yellow umbrellas with fuzzy, purple stamens. Then, when it is finished flowering, it has sweet, little fuzzball seed heads. The bees love the flowers, and it will grow anywhere that receives at least six hours of sun per day (though, like all clematis, C. tangutica prefers to have its feet in the shade).
On average, the vine will reach 15 to 20 feet tall in a single season and is easy to propagate from seeds and stem cuttings. There are many different cultivars of this lovely vine, each with its own merits. “Bill MacKenzie” reaches an easy 20 feet tall, while “Helios” is a shorter cultivar that tops out at 6 feet in height. “Golden Tiara” blooms a bit later than the rest, and “Golden Harvest” is easy to find in the nursery trade.
But no matter which cultivar you get your hands on, you won't be disappointed. This is a great plant, hardy from USDA zones 5 to 11, that deserves a treasured place in your garden.
Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Grow Organic” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.
Send your gardening or landscaping questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Outfielder Polanco driving force for Pirates in victory over Dodgers
- Starkey: Pirates, Burnett could work again
- Jefferson Hospital doctor serves as panelist for mental health legislation
- White Oak no-kill shelter attorney appeals civil decision
- Pirates notebook: Phillies’ Burnett not demanding trade
- Munhall mayor seeks to remedy flyover bridge hazards
- Allegheny County warns of uptick in Lyme disease cases
- Contractor shot, killed in Homewood
- Pitt swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Paterno son, another ex-football assistant coach suing PSU