Clematis cirrhosa
clematis cirrhosa

Clematis of the Month for December 1996

These clematis are natives of Europe, in particular Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. They are evergreen and grow best against a south facing wall, on a tub on a patio or in a place where there is protection from frost. Also they prefer their roots not to be waterlogged. Height outdoors is generally 3-4 meters.

The flowers are fairly ordinary so the plant should be somewhere where they are visible in winter, either from the house or when entering or leaving. I have found that the cream flowers stand out well at night with a patio light trained on them, enabling me to enjoy clematis flowers when I get home from work on a dark winters evening.

The cirrhosa group is suitable for growing in a conservatory, but may need pruning as given ideal growing conditions they can be quite vigorous, up to about 6 meters. The scent is said to be more noticeable in a conservatory.

Growing clematis in a pot In the USA and Canada, C. macropetala is said to be hardy in zones 3 - 9.

It is also very suitable for growing in a pot, in a similar fashion to that of Clematis Macropetala, previously featured on this page. I suggest using a centre pole of up to 1 metre, and training the plant to cascade down from the top of this pole. A hanging basket, secured upside down on top of the pole, is ideal for this method of training. The diagram to the right demonstrates this structure, and the photo above is of a plant trained in this manner.

In the USA the Group is suitable for Hardiness Zones 7-9.

The group is also known as c. calycina.

Information on the individual varieties follows:-

C. cirrhosa

Country of origin: southern Europe, 1596. A bell-shaped cream flower about 4 cm long with red-brown spots or blotches. It is supposed to be scented with attractive seed heads, however I have not noticed either on my plant. The flowering period is November to February in the UK.

C. cirrhosa ssp. balearica

Country of origin: Balearic Isles, 1783. The flowers are very similar to C. cirrhosa The foliage is more delicate and finely cut than C. cirrhosa and with a bronze tinge. Scented and flowers January to March in the UK. Award of Garden Merit in January 1974.

C. cirrhosa 'Freckles'

Introduced by Raymond Evison. Slightly larger flowers with dark red freckles, scented, flowering October to January in the UK. A stronger grower, possibly achieving 5 meters. Award of Garden Merit.

C. cirrhosa 'Wisley Cream'

Larger flowers than C. cirrhosa and cream with no freckles. Scented, flowering January to March in the UK.

Fiona Woolfenden

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