Clematis viticella

Clematis are so often grown as climbing plants that it is easy to forget how graceful they look trailing downhill from a pot, and no species is more appropriate for this than the deciduous C. viticella, bearing masses of small purplish nodding flowers and elegant leaves divided into leaflets. It has many varieties, of which my favourite is ‘Alba Luxurians’, which I first saw in Mrs Margery Fish’s garden cascading over a boundary wall to delight the passers-by. It has white flowers tipped with bright green. ‘Etoile Violette’ is a close rival, having violet flowers with creamy anthers, and there is the wine-red ‘Madame Jules Correvon’, with curious twisted, recurved sepals. All flower for about two months from mid-summer. They grow to some 8 feet (2.4 m), and might be trained over a low dome of wire netting in the pot to build up a firm structure, and then allowed to spray down. Grow them in well-fed, well-drained soil in light shade, and prune in early spring, cutting back the previous season’s growth to a strong pair of buds.

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