Clematis Cirrhosa Is A Different Kind Of Clematis
There are many different species of clematis, and to say that Clematis cirrhosa is a different kind may, on the surface, not appear to be saying too much. Most varieties of clematis send up shoots in the spring, climb and flower during the summer months and then die back in the autumn, repeating the cycle the following year.
An Evergreen And Winter Bloomer - Clematis cirrhosa on the other hand is an evergreen, and blooms in the winter! To be completely truthful, it blooms in the late winter or very early spring, not during the Christmas-New Years holiday period. Still, the fact that it can be in full bloom before we're even fully underway with spring gardening chores does set it apart from your typical clematis. It grows best in USDA zones 7 to 9, so don't expect it to do well in states having exceptionally cold winters, even though it is hardy to temperatures below freezing.
Appearance - Clematis cirrhosa, also called the Fern-leafed clematis, will climb to a height of 20 feet or more. While it requires no pruning, it is nevertheless suggested that it be pruned back to a height of from 3 to 5 feet after spring flowering. A little light pruning may be done from time to time to shape the plant, but most gardeners seem to prefer to just let it do its own thing, ramble. Note that blooming takes place on the previous year's shoots, so you don't want to severely prune the plant back in the late autumn or early winter. The blooms are small, less than 2 inches in diameter, and the flowers are mostly whitish in color, varying from a more or less pure white to a somewhat off white, and will be observed as a mass of attractive, nodding heads. The leaves are toothed and glossy, and about 4 inches in length.
Where To Plant - This particular variety of clematis is excellent for planting along fences or on trellises If you plant more than one plant they are best placed 8 to 10 feet apart, an exception being if you wish to plant two plants on the opposite sides of a trellis. When grown on a trellis you may have to prune lightly on occasion to keep the plants under control, but that is one of the pleasures of gardening.
Care - The established plant will benefit from an annual fertilizing, using a slow release fertilizer. A fertilizer rich in nitrogen will promote leafy growth, but too much nitrogen will result in leaf growth at the expense of buds and flowers. An all purpose fertilizer or one designed specifically for clematis plants is best. Clematis plants like to have their roots protected, especially from the hot sun. This can be accomplished either by mulching the plant, or simply by placing several flat stones around the base of the plant. A moist but well drained soil is important, as is the case with most garden plants. Don't plant the clematis in a low location where water is apt to stand.
Clematis cirrhosa can be planted by a structure, for example by the side of a house, or at the base of a porch or balcony pillar. Unlike ivy, which are areal rooted climbers, and should not be planted near a wooden structure, the clematis climbs on its own leaf stalks, requiring ties or something as simple as cup hooks to hold the plant in place. It will quickly outgrow any permanent ties near its base, and a tie that is soft and somewhat flexible will work best. You may have to do some adjusting of the ties as the plant grows.
The clematis is an attractive and interesting plant to grow. Most varieties will reward you with a profusion of beautiful blooms. Clematis cirrhosa is certainly no exception.