Clematis × diversifolia 'Hendersonii'

Clematis of the Month for August 2011

C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii'©Ton Hannink

Clematis × diversifolia 'Hendersonii' is an old Clematis hybrid raised in the United Kingdom in 1835 by J.A. Henderson. It is a crossing between C. integrifolia × viticella. The first article about this hybrid is; J. RHS 90:515-516, f. 242 1965. Award of Merit on Chelsea Flower Show on May 24, 1965.

The plant has had different names, for example C. 'Hendersonii', and still known under the name C. × eriostemon 'Hendersonii'. You will find more information under this name than C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii'. Magnus Johnson gives in his book the differences between the three crossings of C. integrifolia × viticella - 'Blue Boy', 'Eriostemon' and 'Hendersonii' - on page 579 but there is little difference between these three crossings.

Note, the two pictures below were taken of plants in the Magnus Johnson Collection held by Jan van Zoest.

C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii'©Wim Snoeijer
C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii'

C. × diversifolia 'Eriostemon'©Wim Snoeijer
C. × diversifolia 'Eriostemon'

The plant grows to 2 meters and the flowers are solitary nodding bells, terminal on each shoot and 6-7 cm in diameter. The 4 sepals are 30mm long and deep blue-purple in colour. The stamens are green-yellow.

C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii'©Ton HanninkFlowering time starts in July and runs through until September. After flowering, the fluffy white seedheads make an ornamental feature lasting well into the autumn. The plant shows its charm twice each year. C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii' has slightly perfumed flowers.

The plant needs a place in half shade or fully shade. The best place in the garden is in between garden plants in the border because it is not a "real" climber. However this Clematis can also be used along fences and arbors. Also a beautiful combination can be made over a vigorous rose such as one of the once flowered forms. But then virtually all combinations of Clematis and Roses are beautiful.

C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii'©Ken WoolfendenThis Clematis needs a place in the garden with good conditions such as not too dry conditions in Spring and Summer and not too wet. Give the plant some fertilizer and you will get a lot of flowers.

Although you should prune this Clematis hard, normally it will dies back to ground level over winter.

C. × diversifolia 'Hendersonii' is very hardy.

Ton Hannink Ton Hannink

[Editor's Note: The photos used for this Clematis of the Month were reviewed and some replaced in October 2015 following discussion as to the true identification of the originals.]

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