Clematis recta 'Purpurea'
Clematis recta 'Purpurea'©Ton Hannink

Clematis of the Month for June 2008

Clematis recta 'Purpurea' is a dark cultivar of Clematis recta. This clematis belongs to the section Flammula. Clematis flammula is a very fragrant clematis and has white flowers. Clematis recta also has fragrant and white flowers. Clematis recta is native to central and southern Europe.

Clematis recta 'Purpurea'©Ton HanninkThe initial growth of Clematis recta 'Purpurea' starts with very dark stems and leaves. The color of the leaves is purple in this juvenile stage. When the first buds appear then the color changes from purple to a grey/green tone. So you must take a decision at an early stage - whether to go for dark leaves or fragrant flowers. If you prune the stems before flowering then you get new dark purple stems. The stems reach about 100 cm (3 feet) or possibly even higher. The flowers have 4 tepals (sometimes 5-6) and the size of the flower is 2-3 cm (1 inch) in diameter. Flowering time is from late spring to early summer. Flowers are followed by silvery seed heads. In spring you must remove the old stems to encourage new ones.

Clematis recta 'Purpurea'©Ton HanninkThe plant is not suitable for a fence or wall. Instead the place for this clematis is in a border, although the plant needs support. The plant can be grown in an erect, more vine-like or shrubby form, or allowed to crawl along the ground in wild gardens, meadows and other areas where it will not interfere with other perennials. It is easily grown in fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun.

It has no serious insect or disease problems but can sometimes get mildew in hot and wet conditions.

Clematis recta 'Purpurea'©Ton Hannink
Propagation can be done by sowing seed but this must be done from a very good clone if it is to result in very dark leaves and fragrance. It is important to make a good selection because you will get a mix of light and dark plants. After 3 years you can make a selection of the best plants. Propagation by cuttings is very difficult because the stems are hollow. Only the top of the stems are useful but they are also very sensitive during the rooting phase. If you have cuttings then you must immediately make new cuttings from the young stems. This way you can propagate this beautiful cultivar more easily.

Ton Hannink Ton Hannink

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