December 2, 2011

Winter Blooming Clematis

Clematis for Christmas? If you are surprised, you are not alone, but if you are looking for a beautiful winter blooming vine for your winter-mild garden ( zones 9 plus) or for a cool greenhouse in the north, consider the evergreen Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica

 We have all have a vision of clematis vines, but winter-blooming clematis? Not so much. If your idea of clematis  brings to mind a motif which involves tacky lamp posts in the summer, there are some very choice species and selections that are more interesting, particularly a species that comes from the mild winter climate of Spain and Italy.

Gardeners who live in warmer areas  like California are more likely to be familiar with these winter-blooming clematis, as Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica,  is a common vine in the western US. Interested if growing one? You can find one at Plant Delights nursery). Winter blooming clematis make great container plants in the north, if you can provide a cold, moist conservatory which is sunny.  A few are even showing up as florist plants at the Holiday, so keep your eyes open. I have seen them at Whole Foods and at Trader Joes a few years ago.  These selections all have nodding, four-petaled blossoms, and many have speckles. Clematis cirrhosa grows wild in places like Corsica, Majorca, and Sardinia, which should provide you with some information on the winter conditions required. I would say that if you can grow a rosemary outside, or in a plant room that remains cool, then you can try one of these.

Selections of C. cirrhosa are always hard to find in the states, look for then names which often have Christmas titles -  C. cirrhosa 'Jingle Bells ( an all white form) comes to mind. My first C. cirrhosa Jingle Bells' came as a Holiday gift plant. Other selections to look for are 'Wisley Cream', ( a white and greenish blossom, and  'Freckles', shown here. A few commercial growers are selling a few of these Clematis to retailers like Whole Foods and flower markets, trained as wreathes  as a seasonal pot plant in the north, but if you have a cold greenhouse, the species makes a magnificent show ( this is my first year growing it, but I have seen some vines in greenhouses that are often in full bloom at Christmas).  Commonly grown in gardens in the  United Kingdom, in North America, the species and named varieties are harder to find.  


  1. I love this and have wanted one for a few years. I think I have seen it at Stonecrop Gardens in the glasshouse.

  2. yeah all fertilizer has the almost the same nutrients with it being a orchid fertilizer is probably has a high phosphate {p} and high potash{k} content which is good for all flowers.


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