Scarlet clematis (Clematis texensis) is a fast-growing shrub known for its tube shaped blooms that open into star shaped flowers. Flowers can range from bright red, to magenta, mauve and pink. Scarlet clematis varieties were often named for nobility, a practice that continues today. Multiple varieties of scarlet clematis, also called "cultivars," were developed, although it is not clear how many types of scarlet clematis exist today. Controversy over whether certain varieties were produced from pure scarlet clematis plants, or were hybridized with other species of clematis compromises the ability of horticulturists to determine an exact number of scarlet clematis varieties.
Scarlet clematis flowers can range from pink to deep purple.
Scarlet clematis is a hardy shrub that grows rapidly; train it to grow upright or spread as a ground cover. Its leaves can range from deep green to pale gray green and its abundant flowers occur from late spring to first frost. Scarlet clematis prefers loamy to sandy-loamy soil, and grows best in semi shady conditions; in the U.S., eastern exposure is ideal for scarlet clematis. Scarlet clematis grows best in semi shady conditions and prefers moist, but not soaked soil; these plants should not sit in standing water. Scarlet clematis grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones four to nine.
Clematis vines turn vivid shades of rust and red in autumn
Duchess of Albany is a popular scarlet clematis; it sports pale to bright pink flowers and medium green foliage. Etoile Rose is known for its deep pink blooms that are complemented with pale edges and dark green foliage. Named for the late Princess of Wales, the Princess Diana variety of scarlet clematis features coral blooms.
Purchase clematis from nurseries specializing in ornamental shrubs.
Scarlet clematis varieties offering red flowers include Gravetye Beauty, which features deep red blooms and medium green foliage, a modern variety, Ladybird Johnson, features bright red trumpet like blooms held horizontally amid pale green foliage. When fall temperatures drop, the leaves of all scarlet clematis varieties turn rusty orange to deep red.
Although clematis shrubs can quickly overtake a garden or landscaping scheme, you may want more than one variety. Scarlet clematis may not be available in warehouse store nurseries, but you can find them in specialty nurseries. Clematis are hardy plants; once you find the plants you want, they’ll soon reward you with a brilliant show of color.