In The Garden Now…..Anemone Clematis

Friday, June 2, 2017

White Anemone Clematis
Queen of The Climbers

Text and photos by Victoria Gilleland

I’ve always been fond of white flowering plants especially those that are particularly floriferous. They provide such a wonderful contrast to garden green with their bright white blossoms. An outstanding white climber is brightening my garden right now….. the beautiful Anemone Clematis!

Clematis Montana is easy to grow in northwest gardens and has a long bloom season. The massive display of crisp white flowers lasts for weeks in May and June. Over the years I’ve added many different varieties of Montana Clematis to my garden including pink flowering varieties such as Clematis Montana ‘Mayleen’ and Clematis Montana Rubens. Only the white varieties remain. It’s possible that the pink varieties have reverted to white or simply died out. Various plant varieties do revert to the species from time to time.


Clematis enjoys being planted so that roots are in the shade and flowers in the sun. Also, this is one of the few plants that actually wants to be planted deeper than it was growing in its nursery pot. When planted two or three inches deeper more roots form to support the plant.

Clematis appreciates being overplanted with some shallow rooted groundcover and/or mulched to keep the hot sun off the root area and to help with moisture retention. This is typically a long lived plant so prepare the planting area with good soil and compost. A generous serving of compost or manure in spring is much appreciated by these robust climbers.

Clematis Montana is an easy to grow very vigorous flowering vine. It will grow 20-30 feet high and easily cover an area 15 feet wide. It can be trained over arches, pergolas, fences, hedges, sheds, or posts. I’ve grown Clematis Montana up and through the 80-100 foot Douglas Fir trees on our property. It’s quite a sight to see those fir trees in bloom!

When to prune? If you prune right after the plant finishes flowering you will not interfere with next year’s blossoms. This plant can be sheared to remove heavy growth right after it finishes blooming. It’ll grow quickly during the summer and fall and will be ready to bloom come next spring.

This clematis grows and flowers well in full sun to half shade and even blooms quite nicely in fairly heavy shade. The plants get larger and stronger each year, but may take a year or two to get settled in the garden and really take off. An added bonus is that they are “deer resistant.” This doesn’t mean “deer proof,” only that deer might choose another plant over this one if there’s a tastier morsel nearby!

If you’ve got the space and structure to support a vigorous vine like this it’s definitely worth adding to the garden. Pollinators will thank you, butterflies will come to visit and the vanilla fragrance will draw you into the garden. You all win!

 (Botanical Name:  Clematis montana)

Victoria Gilleland is the owner of Cottage Garden Designs, a Garden Design company specializing in Redesign of Residential Gardens, Garden Consultation and Coaching. She has been designing gardens in the northwest for over 20 years.  




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