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Clematis produces stunning blooms

When most people think of a flowering vine, clematis comes to mind. Clematis vines are often called the queen of vines, with their showy summer blooms.
The purple Clematis jackmani, arguably the most popular clematis, can be found on a host of mailbox posts throughout Rowan County. But there is another clematis cultivar that should receive strong consideration. Clematis armandii or Armand’s clematis is an early bloomer and set to flower very soon; some blooms may have already peaked out.
Unlike most clematis cultivars, the armandii is a perennial evergreen vine with glossy green foliage, adding another design dimension to the landscape.
The vine is an aggressive climber that can grow up to 20 feet. The vine climbs by using its leafstems like tendrils, twisting and wrapping to attach itself to a trellis. The leaves are glossy green with prominent veins and a leathery texture. In early spring, the vine will be covered with fragrant white flowers at the end of the branches. The blossoms have five petals with prominent stamens, giving the vine a showy appearance against the glossy green foliage. Pink flowered selections are also available.The plant is native to China where it grows up trees and bushes at forest margins and along fence rows. This is a vine that is rapidly gaining in popularity that will grow well in our climate.
Partial shade is ideal exposure for the vine. Vines exposed to full sun may experience some tip burn during the heat of summer. Bitter cold may nip the vine, but it easily recovers. The vine needs to be planted in a well drained soil with ample water during periods of drought. However, established vines seem to be tolerant of dry conditions. This vine is normally not bothered by pests, but early spring aphids may present a problem.
The evergreen vine easily covers arbors or trellises in a couple of seasons. It can be also used as a screening material concealing unwanted views. Apple Blossom is a popular clematis armandii cultivar. But there are more cultivars available. For a wealth of information about clematis armandi or other clematis cultivars, visit The American Clematis Society Web site at http://clematis.org/
Contact Darrell Blackwelder at Rowan County Cooperative Extension, 704-216-8700.

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