Is Clematis hardy / perennial? Instructions for wintering

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Clematis - clematis

Among the globally occurring, more than 300 Clematis species are deciduous and evergreen climbing shrubs and lavishly flowering, herbaceous perennials. Given this diversity, it is obvious that the question of winter hardiness can not be answered with a short yes or no. A differentiated approach brings light into the darkness and ensures that your Clematis does not leave it in a short intermezzo in the garden and on the balcony. The following instructions describe in a compact and understandable way how to overwinter a clematis species-appropriate.

Perennial, they are all - hardy always

Clematis are among the cosmopolitans in the plant kingdom. In almost every region of the world, they are found in the wild, preferring wooded mountains, whereupon their second name is Waldrebe. Predominantly, they thrive as deciduous climbing plants that use their curvilinear stalks to raise trees. A few clematis have chosen tropical and subtropical climates as their home, where they wear their foliage thanks to the mild temperatures throughout the year.
In their respective distribution area, grapevines have the potential for a long life. Under ideal conditions, the climbing artists reach an age between 20 and 70 years. This succeeds the European and Asian species, because they have a good winter hardiness. In contrast, evergreen clematis know no frost, so they are - notwithstanding their multi-year growth - not hardy. The following overview of the most popular species for the ornamental garden gives information about the differentiated hardiness:
  • Real / Common Clematis (Clematis vitalba): hardy to - 37 degrees Celsius
  • Italian clematis (Clematis viticella): hardy to - 25 degrees Celsius
  • Alpine Clematis (Clematis alpina): hardy to -25 degrees Celsius
  • Perennial Clematis (Clematis integrifolia, Clematis recta): hardy to - 25 degrees Celsius
  • Mountain Clematis (Clematis montana): hardy to -20 degrees Celsius
  • Japanese clematis (Clematis florida): hardy to - 12 degrees Celsius
  • Chinese, semi-evergreen clematis (Clematis kweichowensi): hardy to - 12 degrees Celsius
  • Chinese, evergreen clematis (Clematis armandii): hardy to - 6 degrees Celsius
  • Australian evergreen clematis (Clematis microphylla): not hardy: minimum temperature 5 degrees Celsius
While concrete statements about the hardiness of pure species can be made, this does not apply to the opulent hybrids. After all, conclusions can be drawn on the basis of the parent plants, to what extent a hybrid is cold-resistant. The world-famous shrub 'Rubens' comes from the Clematis montana and has a similarly good winter hardiness. The Italian clematis was the inspiration for numerous Jackmanii hybrids, which feature particularly large flowers and are also frost-tolerant, like the pure species.

Overwinter frost-sensitive clematis - this is how it works

Clematis - clematis

The wintering of evergreen, semi-evergreen and other, winter-proof forest vines is seldom successful under the open sky, so cultivation in the tub is recommended. The species and hybrids that emerge from them only give you years of growth if you can spend the cold season behind glass. How to hibernate:
  • Allow for a nocturnal temperature minimum of 5 degrees Celsius
  • The winter quarter is bright and frost-free at 5 to 15 degrees Celsius
  • Do not fertilize from September to March
  • Pour sparingly so that the root ball does not dry out
Is your garden within a wintry grape growing region or does it have an adequate microclimate? Then there are good prospects that the early flowering, evergreen Clematis armandii can be planted out. Nevertheless, winter protection should not be waived. The cover of the root disc with leaves and brushwood keeps frost and snow at bay. In the first 2 to 3 years, a reed mat protects the shoots from the icy wind.

Hardy species are vulnerable in the bucket

Information on winter hardiness refers exclusively to clematis in the bed. Deep in the soil, the root ball is so well protected that it survives severe frost. The local site conditions as well as a professional planting play into this view. This does not apply to potted plants as the root ball is in an attackable position. The comparatively small substrate volume and the thin vessel walls do not provide adequate shielding against frost. Nevertheless, frost-proof Clematis species in the tub can overwinter outside with the following precautions:
  • Before winter break in the pot with several layers of foil
  • To protect against frost from below, place the bucket on a wooden block
  • Cover the substrate with autumn leaves, wood wool or bark mulch
In wind-exposed situations, you also surround the bucket with a coconut or reed mat that towers over the edge of the bucket by about 10 cm. An advantage is a location in front of the south wall of the house or in a rain and wind protected garden niche.
Tip: A low-contrast planting provides a shady foot in the summer and serves as a buffer zone against frost in winter. Small ornamental grasses and ferns fulfill this task perfectly as a useful infantry for the royal clematis. The Japanese mountain grass (Hakonechloa macra), the delicate forest grove (Luzula sylvatica) or the small Himalayan venus hair fern (Adiantum venustum) are excellent candidates for this function.

Protect frost resistant climbing shrubs in the planting year

If your clematis is neither a cold-sensitive plant nor a potted plant, you will not be able to avoid winter cover. At least in the planting year, the climbing queen can not do without these supportive measures against severe frost:
  • In late autumn pile the beetle with leaves and needle twigs
  • To put the young shoots twigs as a windbreak
  • Do not give fertilizer from September
  • In case of frost, water from time to time in winter so that the rhizome does not dry out
If a winter hardy species with this protection has survived its first winter healthy, it has a stable frost resistance on its own in the following years. Should the plant pay tribute and freeze over severe periods of frost, this is no cause for alarm. Cut the dead shoots back into healthy wood in spring. From a vital rhizome the clematis drives again.
Tip: The professional planting contributes significantly to the successful hibernation of a garden clematis. Choose a sunny to partially shaded spot to plant the young clematis so deep that the root collar is covered with soil about 10 cm.

Perennial clematis occupy special status

Clematis - clematis

Perennial clematis are the survivors within the multi-faceted clematis genus. The herbaceous plants thrive in almost every location and inspire with beautiful flower and leaf shapes. Since they have no climbing organs, the shoots are directed by means of trellises in the desired direction. Some species, however, form such strong stems that they can do without supportive support. All shrub clematis are reliably frost-resistant. The herbaceous shoots are fully absorbed in winter, to exorcise punctually in the spring again. In order to properly hibernate herbaceous species, a vigorous pruning is integrated into the care program. How to do it professionally:
  • In November or December, cut all shoots back to 10 or 20 cm above the ground
  • Cover the root disc in the planting year with a layer of foliage and fir fronds
  • Every year, provide the bucket with a winter coat made of foil, jute or fleece
If in early spring the mercury column exceeds the freezing point, the winter protection can be removed. In order to protect the young shoots and buds from delayed ground frosts, a light and breathable fleece should be ready by the end of May. If the weather forecast announces nocturnal frost, even a simple hood preserves a perennial clematis from frostbite.

These varieties are extra hardy

Clematis - alpine clematis

Do you consult this wintering guide before purchasing a Clematis? Then make a shortlist of one of the following, handpicked species and varieties, which have proven to be particularly frost-resistant in practice:

Blue Princess (Clematis alpina)

The early-flowering alpine forest vine is native to Germany, so it has a stable frost hardy to - 25 degrees Celsius. The royal flower beauty also scores with twice the flowering time, an impressive vigor and healthy constitution. Its light blue flowers with white center are 5 cm tall and appear in such a large flock that they almost cover the light green leaves.
  • Flowering period: April to May and September
  • Growth height: 220 to 320 cm

The President (Clematis hybrid)

You can not miss this premium variety. Where The President resides, facades and fences turn into a furious sea of ​​flowers. Every single flower shines in purple and trumps with a diameter of at least 10 cm. Among the many benefits of this proven Clematis hybrid is an unconditional winter hardiness down to - 25 degrees Celsius.
  • Flowering period: May to September
  • Growth height: 180 to 400 cm

Blue Angel (Clematis viticella)

With Italian temperament and light blue, ruffled flowers, this clematis has conquered a large fan base among the gardeners. Their popularity is also based on a robust health and fail-safe winter hardiness for up to - 25 degrees Celsius.
  • Flowering period: June to October
  • Growth height: 200 to 400 cm

Odorata (Clematis montana)

Lavish flower abundance, impressive vigor and a hardiness of up to - 20 degrees Celsius characterize this high-profile mountain-clematis.When it comes to greening large facades, the light pink flowering odorata should be high on the wish list. The cross-shaped petals frame a sun-yellow center and exude a seductive vanilla scent.
  • Flowering time: May and June
  • Growth height: 400 to 1200 cm

Baby Blue - Perennial Clematis (Clematis integrifolia)

It inspires with blue bell blossoms, twice flowering time and decorative fruit decorations in autumn. In winter, the perennial clematis retreats into its rhizome, which can endure clinking frost up to - 25 degrees Celsius without any problems. When the first rays of sunshine warm the ground in spring, the young shoots sprout vigorously to repeat their flower festival.
  • Flowering period: May to June and September
  • Growth height: 30 to 40 cm
Around the globe clematis thrive as perennial climbers with fabulous flower abundance. Although a clematis can reach an age of up to 70 years, this is not always accompanied by a reliable frost resistance. At least tropical, evergreen clematis have not learned to survive in winter conditions. Therefore, they should be cultivated in the bucket and winterized behind glass. The vast majority of European and Asian Clematis species are so hardy that only in the planting year and in the bucket a light winter protection makes sense. As detailed in this guide to wintering, even simple precautions as a safe escort for the queen of the climbing plants through the cold season suffice.

Video Board: How To Overwinter Perennials in Containers.

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