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Blooming Plants
            
   Blooming Plant of the Month
       
Clematis

BOTANICAL NAME
Clematis spp. (KLEM-uh-tis or kli-MAT-is)

COMMON NAMES
Virgin’s bower, Traveler’s joy, Leather flower, Vase vine

DESCRIPTION
Clematis is a group of perennial herbs or woody vines. This genus includes approximately 250 species and many hybrids. Some are evergreen, and some are herbaceous. Clematis plants vary greatly in their flower forms, colors, bloom seasons, foliage effects and plant heights. When the flowers fade, the plants bear small, dry fruits.

COLORS
Clematis flowers may be blue, violet, white, pink or red.

CONSUMER LIFE

Each bloom cycle can last several weeks. The plants can bloom several times a year with proper care, and they can survive for years, depending on the environment.

AVAILABILITY
Clematis plants are readily available from spring through fall.

CHALLENGES
ETHYLENE SENSITIVITY Clematis plants are somewhat sensitive to ethylene gas. Check with your suppliers to make sure their crops have been treated with an ethylene inhibitor at the farm or during transportation.

IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Bright, indirect light is best for plants displayed indoors.

WATER Keep the soil moist at all times, but don’t overwater because it can cause root rot. Avoid standing water on the soil, foliage and flowers. Irregular watering can cause bud drop. Avoid overhead watering.

TEMPERATURE Warm areas (65 F to 75 F) are best for displaying Clematis plants indoors. Do not refrigerate them because sudden drops in temperature can result in leaf and blossom drop. Don’t let the temperature drop below 55 F in rooms where the plants are displayed.

HUMIDITY Clematis plants enjoy moderate humidity. Indoors, a pebble tray can be used to help keep the humidity levels up.

FERTILIZER
Feed the plants every three weeks during the growing season with a high phosphorus or bloom fertilizer.

GROOMING
Cut back Clematis plants and vines when they have finished flowering to remove straggly branches and faded flowers.

TOXICITY
When bruised, the leaves and flowers of Clematis plants can irritate the eyes and throat.

QUALITY CHECKLIST
BLOOMS Don’t accept plants that show signs of wilt, rot, mold or yellowing.

STEMS AND FOLIAGE
Select plants that have multiple stems; healthy, dark green growth; and a root system that fills the container.

PESTS
Aphids or mealy bugs may be a problem. They usually can be washed off with a strong stream of water. Safer Insecticidal Soap can be used if needed.

FUN FACTS
MEANING “Clematis” is from the Greek word for “vine.”

ORIGINS
Clematis is native throughout North America, Europe and Asia and is a member of the Ranunculaceae family.

HISTORY
Many Clematis plants were cross-bred and improved in the 1850s. Jackman Nursery, the leading hybridizer in Britain in the 1860s, introduced C. x jackmanii in 1862, and it is still the most popular Clematis hybrid grown today.


Some information provided by:
• American Clematis Society, www.clematis.org
• International Clematis Society, http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/clematis

Images courtesy of The John Henry Company

Reach “Fresh Flower of the Month” writer Steven W. Brown, AIFD, at sbfloral@aol.com  or (415) 239-3140.


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