Clematis is a member of the buttercup family. These hardy climbing vines are suitable for either spring or fall planting and are available in more than 200 cultivars. Clematis is a popular choice for container planting.
Hybrid clematis typically produces blooms 4 to 10 inches in diameter. The blooms of nonhybrid varieties range from 1 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Clematis has three types of flowers: small white flower clusters, bell-shaped flowers and flat flowers. Compound leaves are dark green.
Clematis is capable of climbing fences, walls and other structures. Netting, stakes and strings provide support and train new vines. This technique helps to ensure that the clematis grows evenly as opposed to the majority of the foliage at the top of the vine. Trellis or 12-inch squares of plastic-coated wire, attached with eye bolts, can also be used. Annually pruning one-third of the oldest vines, or shoots, to about 1 foot from the ground promotes more compact growth.
Clematis prefers at least six hours of direct sunlight and well-drained soil with a pH level of about 7.0. Water them once a week in dry weather. Fertilizing the plants during the summer is recommended.