Clematis: Large-flowered – Clematis hybrids

Clematis hybrids are the result of much research and years of work by specialist nurserymen. They are derived from two large-flowered clematis which arrived in England in the late 19th century from China.

Immediately they were seized upon by nurserymen and used for crossing to make large-flowered hybrids which could be grown commercially. The first of these was ‘Jackmanii’ — raised at Jackman’s Nursery.

Many more large-flowered clematis hybrids followed and today you can choose from a huge range of large-flowered clematis. You can buy clematis which bloom in spring, summer and autumn.

The flowers of the spring-flowering hybrids appear in early May and will last for 4-6 weeks. If they need pruning do so immediately after flowering. Late spring and summer flowering clematis need similar treatment. They produce flowers twice. The early flowers are larger than the later ones, which are more profuse. Summer and autumn flowering hybrids must be pruned in winter. They produce flowers constantly for at least 3 months and are slightly smaller than the hybrids which flower earlier in the year. They do bloom in such profusion and for so long that they are probably the best choice for a sunny patio position.Clematis hybrids

Clematis in the wild have their roots on the woodland floor. Their leaves and flowers reach up to the sun. Recreate these conditions and you will have an abundance of flowers throughout the blooming period.

Large-flowered hybrids are easy to contain in small spaces. You could expect them to grow to about 2.1-3m (7-1 Oft)in a larger container.

Display ideas

Clematis is such a lovely plant that it will soften the look of any surface that it grows against. They are often used to hide ugly posts and drainpipes on terraces and balconies.

Choose frost proof containers and underplant the clematis with spring bulbs, so that when it is at its most bare, there will still be colour on the patio. Place the container in a shady position: clematis like to have cool roots, but flowers and foliage should be in full sun.

Clematis climbs by means of its leaf stalks which twine around their support. When the leaves fall in the autumn the stalk remains to support the plant for the following year.

Pests And Diseases

All or part wilts. This is known as clematis wilt or vine disease. Large-flowered hybrids are prone to it but shortage of water can be a cause, so make sure that you water regularly if they are grown in tubs.

Treatment: Cut out all the affected parts. Prune hard until you have only healthy plant tissue. Apply a pruning compound to heal the cuts. Spray the new shoots, which will soon grow, at two-week intervals with a copper-based fungicide until all signs of the disease have gone.


Easy to grow but keep roots cool. Will need a little grooming to keep them in shape. Prune early bloomers after flowering and later flowering ones at the end of winter. This encourages the plants to produce new growth on which next year’s flowers are carried.

  • Potting: Grow clematis in a well-drained soil-based potting mix.
  • If grown in a tub, water frequently in summer to keep the potting mixture permanently moist. Water sparingly in winter. Water any grown in the ground only if weather is very dry or at time of planting out.
  • Feeding: Apply a liquid fertilizer once a week during the growing season, but stop when flowering begins.


  • Light: They grow well in strong light.
  • Temperature: They thrive in warmth and sunlight but keep the roots cool.
  • Large-flowered clematis are generally tolerant of temperatures at or below freezing, but in exceptionally cold winters protect them with straw at the roots and cover the plant with plastic.

Buying Tips

  • Possible to buy all year round from garden centres or from specialist nurseries.
  • Strong stems growth, undamaged leaves and a few flower buds.
  • Will last for many years. In a very cold winter it would be a good idea to protect the roots with a straw mulch.

Large-flowering Clematis hybrids are available in a huge range of colours. Whether they flower in spring, summer or autumn they are ideal for the balcony or patio trellis.

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