Clematis 'Sunrise' is a montana cultivar raised by Robin and Laura Mitchell (owners of Cadsonbury Plant Breeders and members of this Society) in New Zealand in 1991 and registered by them in 1996. This cultivar is a probably crossing between C. 'Starlight' × C. montana var. rubens 'Tetrarose'.
This plant is smaller than most montanas, it grows to about 3 meters while most montanas grow to at least 8-10 meters with big stems, and sometimes much more. The flowers are 5 - 6.5 cms across. Clematis 'Sunrise' is a double or semi-double pink montana with flowers in clusters at the node. Filaments and anthers are white. The mostly 4 tepals, but sometimes up to 6 tepals, are oval and eventually recurved. The new growth is beautiful reddish or purplish. The leaves are rather dark.
Flowers appear from April to June on previous year's growth. This montana is very floriferous. Also if the sun is shining is the right direction on the flowers you get a special effect with the color.
The plant can be light-pruned after flowering. If the plant is too big you should prune it very hard to keep the plant under control.
Clematis 'Sunrise' needs a place in the garden in full sun or half shadow and not too wet during winter. You can place the plant against a wall, trellis or fence. It is beautiful to see this clematis in flower against the wall of a house in spring. If the plant has the right conditions, then you have a lot of flowers in spring and later the dark leaves.
Clematis 'Sunrise' will survive in zone 6 but will suffer severe dieback in harder winters and will usually lose the flowering potential over a cold winter. In some countries with cold winters the plant will survive during winter but does not give any flower, though it will comeback even after bad winters. In colder zones the plant will not survive very well, in fact it may die.
In conclusion, Clematis 'Sunrise' is one of the most beautiful of the montanas with the added advantage (for many people, especially with smaller gardens) that it does not grow too big.
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