Clematis 'Suzy Mac'

Clematis of the Month for July 2017

described by Ton Hannink

My thanks to Deborah Hardwick for the photo showing the reverse side of the flower. The other two photos are by Ton Hannink.

C. 'Suzy Mac'©Ton Hannink

C. 'Suzy Mac'©Deborah HardwickIn 2010, when I visited a nursery for garden plants, I suddenly saw Clematis 'Suzy Mac'. This was a surprise because the plant was not available in Europe but this nursery had got the plant from Japan, together with some other new garden plants. I bought two plants and I was happy to have this new beautiful cultivar.

The first mention of this clematis was in 2005 on the best garden forum at that time, Gardenbuddies. The colour of this clematis was very dark and interesting. The plant was said to be available within two years, but it took much longer.

Brian Collingwood discovered this cultivar, which is a cross between his Clematis patens and an unknown parent, the result of open pollination. He tested the plant for a long time and he named this cultivar after an American lady, Suzy MacMahon. This lady is a friend of Brian and was very active on Gardenbuddies.

I pruned back both plants in Autumn 2010 and I was very surprised next year with the new flowers . They were at a height of 20-30 cm and there were very many. Also the colour of the flower is fantastic. The large purple flowers, 14-16 cm, have a faint red-purple bar and purple-red with whitish anthers. The fruit heads are persistent. Flowers appear on the growth from the previous year and also on new growth, against mid-green foliage with a white downy underside. C. 'Suzy Mac' is a very floriferous and a rather low growing clematis - about 1 meter high.

Flowering time is from May through August. If you prune back the stems after flowering then you get a second flush of flowers.

Because C. 'Suzy Mac' grows only to 1 meter high and flowers even at a low-level, this cultivar is very useful as a pot plant. This is a real low-growing plant, even after several years. Put the plant in a container of at least 10 litre capacity with high quality soil. Every 14 days give the plant fertilizer, 10:30:20 or almost the same ratio of N:P:K. For good growth in a pot you must prune back the stem directly after the flowers have finished. This will also ensure the good combination of the green leaves and the dark flowers.

In the garden, C. 'Suzy Mac' is suitable for borders or planted together with small shrubs with light or medium green leaves, so that you have a good contrast with the dark flowers. You can also support it with a trellis or an archway.

C. 'Burma Star' and C. 'Suzy Mac'©Ton Hannink Last year it was suggested to me by another hobbyist that C. 'Suzy Mac' is almost the same as C. 'Burma Star'. I have both cultivars and it is good that I have labels on both plants so that I know that I have the right plant. The flowers, leaves and height are almost the same.

Pruning group: 2

Zone: 2-9

Ton HanninkTon Hannink

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