Clematis × aromatica
Clematis × aromatica©Ton Hannink

Clematis of the Month for February 2007

This clematis has been in cultivation since 1840/1845 and was bred in France. It is a crossing between C. flammula and C. integrifolia and this is, in the first instance, a rather unlikely combination.

C.× aromatica©Ton HanninkC. flammula has a very strong scent during a hot summer and C. integrifolia has also a scent, though not quite so strong. This crossing has produced a plant with a very good scent, described by several people as vanilla, orange or heliotrope. It is a free-flowering clematis with small flowers, deep purple-violet to start with changing later to a blue-violet colour. The size is about 2-5 cm (1 - 2 ins). The dark sepals contrast well with the long creamy-white stamens. The plant starts with flowering in June and ends in September.

C.× aromatica©Ton Hannink

The leaves are rather small, dark green on the upper side and a pale or silvery grey colour underneath.

The stems reach a height of about 100-150 cm (3 - 5ft) and the plant is non-climbing.

The best place in the garden is in front of where you sit in the summer, so that you can enjoy the lovely flowers and the heavenly scent. For a good scent, the plant needs a very sunny place.

If you give the plant a place in your garden, you must ensure that it has a nice dry place during the winter months. C. × aromatica hate cold and wet in the winter - I know because I lost my first C. × aromatica in this way.

In spring and summer the plant needs sufficient water and a good fertilizer such as 15:10:30(N:P:K). So give the plant the kind of soil that has enough water in spring and summer and is rather dry in winter.

C. × aromatica is an ideal plant in a border with small shrubs, roses or perennials. The plant grows through the shrubs and shows the small dark flowers above the shrub, so it makes a good combination with a white or yellow flowering shrub or rose.

The plant is no climber and too low for a fence. Combination with other clematis of about 1m will be a pretty result - what about growing it with Clematis fruticosa (sub shrub and yellow flowering)?

I keep one plant in a container and store the container in the greenhouse during winter. Before I store the plant in the greenhouse I prune it to about 20 cm (8 ins). In spring the plant gives first leaves quite early and then the first flowers. I place the container on my terrace and I can easily enjoy the perfume during hot days. The plant must have enough water and fertilizer during the season to keep it in good condition.

Prune the plant during the summer when the flowers are finished at a stem. Within 6 weeks you have more flowers again. C. × aromatica gives seed heads but there are only a few viable seeds.

C. × aromatica is not very easily available in many countries because nurseries loose material during winter and small flowering clematis are often not so popular. But if you can buy one plant - do it!

Ton Hannink Ton Hannink

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