The Clematis armandii is better known as the evergreen clematis. It is a beautiful climbing vine that produces eye catching vanilla-scented white flowers.
Because of this growth habit, they are often found growing up trellises, arbors, pergolas and walls. Their ability to grow up to 30 feet likewise makes them perfect for areas where you want to add privacy screens or hedges.
Native to China and Burma these woody perennials attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies to you garden. This makes them perfect if you’re looking to grow a butterfly or pollinator garden.
That said, the Clematis armandii is best known for its showy blossoms which are between 1 to 3 inches in size and feature 4 to 5 petals. These are completement by broad dark green leathery leaves.
Clematis Armandii Plant Care
Clematis Armandii Light
Clematis armandii thrive on full sun. But, they also like part shade during the hot summers and mid afternoons when the sun’s rays are most intense.
As such, while the plant needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to grow at its best, how much exposure it actually receives depends on where you live. If you live in the hotter regions, it is best to provide it with enough shade to keep it from the harsh sun at certain times of the day and year.
But, in cooler regions, you’ll want it sitting under the sun.
The reason for this is that the evergreen clematis likes its head in full sun but prefers to keep its roots col. That makes it a little bit trickier.
And, for this reason, it is a good idea to add mulch or groundcover to protect its roots. You can likewise use pebbles and stones for cover.
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Clematis Armandii Temperature & Humidity
The clematis armandii can tolerate temperatures down to 14 degrees Fahrenehti. Thus, it is total frost hardy but can take a bit of cold climates. It is likewise the hardiest of the evergreen clematis varieties.
Because of this the evergreen clematis is best suited for USDA zones 7 to 9. It cannot take the hotter temperatures of higher zones because its roots like stay cool. Similarly, it enjoys cold but not extreme frosty winters. And, the colder it gets, the heavier the layer of mulch you’ll want to use to protect it during the winter.
Clematis Armandii Watering
Like sunlight, evergreen clematis like some kind of moderation. It cannot stand too much water where the soil gets wet and soggy. And, you shouldn’t allow the soil to completely dry up as well.
As such, you’ll need to adjust depending on the time of the year. The hotter and drier the weather, the more often you’ll need to water it. In contrast, in cold, rainy climates, you want to back off on watering.
The goal is to keep the soil constantly moist without allowing the plant to sit in water for long periods of time.
If you keep the plant in containers, you’ll need to water your clematis armandii more than if it were grown in the ground. That’s because the soil in pots dry much faster when the weather it hot.
Similarly, depending on where you put it, it may or may not receive as much rain. Thus, do check on your potted evergreen clematis’ soil more often in this setup.
The most important thing to remember with watering is to avoid overwatering. The best way to do so is to provide ample drainage which I’ll cover below. If the soil is on point, it will be hard to overwater the plant. In fact, with a lot of water, it will thrive even more.
The reason I say this is my mother has a clematis armandii sitting right under the rain gutters of her home. As the gutters have slightly deteriorated, water spews from it as more water comes down from the sky. And, this drenches the plant.
However, because she’s very meticulous about good soil, which she’s worked on for decades, it is very well draining. This has allowed the plant to actually thrive even with excess moisture.
From the previous section, you can gather how important the soil is for the clematis armandii to grow optimally.
That’s because the plant grows best in moist conditions. But, because the entire species is susceptible to clematis wilt, it is very important not to let it stay wet for too long. Similarly, there’s the problem of other fungal disease and root rot.
Thus, the other important part of the soil equations is well-draining. This allows all the excess moisture to drain off. This way, your evergreen clematis can get good amount of water regularly (which helps it look lush and vibrant), without ending up with wet feet (which damages the plant through disease).
The best way to achieve this conditions is to give it soil with lots of humus. If you’re lucky, your garden will be blessed with loam soil that’s rich in organic matter. But, most of us don’t have that kind of luck.
So, the more practical way to achieve it is to use compost to amend the soil. Compost is amazing because it makes soil light, rich and well draining. As such, the reason why it is called “black gold” by gardeners.
Similarly, because clematis like their roots to be kept cool, it is a good idea to provide their base with some kind of protection. This is especially true during the hot summer or mid-afternoons if you live in warm climates.
The easiest ways to do this is to use mulch or stones to cover the roots. You can likewise use small items like shingles to do so.
Mulch is also useful to protect the plant from the cold come wintertime.
Growing Clematis Armandii In Pots
Pots are another option if you want to be able to move your evergreen clematis around more easily. You can add casters under your container so you can push it instead of carrying as well.
This makes it perfect for patios, decks and porches, if the spaces get a lot of sunlight. You can likewise grow it indoors. But, be aware that a mature clematis armandii gets to between 6 to 15 or so feet upon maturity. Plus, it’s not as easy to get that much light indoors.
In any case, with containers, you want to use high quality potting mix that’s well draining. Ideally, it is rich in organic matter as well. if you find that the soil isn’t removing excess moisture well enough, add perlite to improve this.
Also, make sure the pot has drainages holes at the bottom to allow the liquid to escape.
Plants in pots can be more tricky because you’ll need to do more watering and fertilizing. Water dries faster especially it there’s sunlight in containers. Also, potting mix only contain starter doses of fertilizer. So, you’ll need to feed it more than you would garden soil which has more nutrients).
Finally, there’s repotting, which you’ll likely need to do every 2 to 3 years with the evergreen clematis.
Clematis Armandii Fertilizing
When it comes to feeding your clematis armandii, it is a good idea to use a balanced liquid fertilizer after the its growing season in the fall. You can likewise do so before the beginning of the next season early in the spring.
Because you want the plant to bloom, be careful with using plant food that is very high in nitrogen. This will promote leaf growth at the expense of flowers. So, you want something balanced that will allow for it to bloom.
Similarly, if you don’t see enough flowers, you can go with slightly higher phosphorus (P) in the N-P-K ratio.
If you’re growing your evergreen clematis in a container, make sure it receives ample fertilizer especially after the starter dose in the potting mix is used up. Similarly, don’t double up by feeding the plant if the potting soil contains a dose. This will put your plant at risk of fertilizer burn.
Clematis Armandii Pruning
When pruning, the most important things to remember about clematis armandii are:
- It belongs to group 1. As a ground 1 clematis vine, it blooms in the spring. This also means that you want to prune right after it blooms. So, be prepared to get to work around March or April.
- The plant is an aggressive grower. The more vigorous the grower, the more you can remove from it. In fact, you can cut it back by 20 inches or almost down to the ground. It doesn’t mind “hard pruning”.
Evergreen clematis bloom early in the year. After they do, you’ll want to trim them back because pruning promotes flowering and also makes its foliage more dense.
This involves deadheading spent flowers. But, you’ll also want to remove the dead stems which can become a tangled mess if you leave it be.
The best thing about group 1 clematis plants is that they’ll keep coming returning the next season after your cut them back. And, while don’t mind severe pruning, it is worth noting that the less reduction you make to the stems, the earlier they’ll blossom the next time around.
So, you can use this to make their flowers appear earlier or later depending on when the other plants in your garden bloom.
Image from Pinterest
Clematis armandii can be propagated via cuttings, division and layering. Of the two, the cuttings is easier. You can likewise choose between using semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings. The best time to do so is early to mid summer.
How to Propagate Clematis Armandii from Cuttings
- Select a vine that’s between 4 to 6 inches long for your cutting. Ideally, you want to choose one with a few young leaves.
- Use a sterilized pair of scissors or pruning shears to make the cut. Use cotton and rubbing alcohol to sterilize the blade.
- Remove the leaves and dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder.
- Fill a small pot (4 inches will do) with soil and insert the cutting into the potting mix.
- For support, add two thin sticks, you can use skewers, to support the cutting.
- Place the plant in bright, indirect light and keep it warm.
- Water the soil to keep it moist.
After a while, the cutting should start to root.
Transplanting & Repotting
When planting your clematis armandii into the ground, the first thing you’ll want to do is think about location. Keep in mind that:
- It likes a lot of sun
- But wants to keep its “feet” cool. So, the root collar should be out of direct sunlight. You can use mulch or other items to protect it as well.
- It is a climber. This means providing a structure nearby for it to climb. This can be a trellis, arbor, wall or other vertical space.
- The plant can get up to 15 to 20 feet high and 10 to 15 feet wide.
- It is a vigorous grower. It is aggressive in growing so it can take up a good amount of space.
With that in mind, the best times to plant or transplant your evergreen clematis is during late fall or early in the spring. If the weather or winter is mild in your area, fall works. But, if it gets cold, you’re better off doing it early spring.
However, with spring, you want to make sure you plant it before the start of the season where new shoots will begin to come out. Since the plant blooms early in the year, this is essential so as not to lose out on its blossoms.
How to Plant/Transplant Clematis Armandii
- Pick a spot that is up to a foot away from a vertical structure that you wish it to climb.
- Dig a hole. Make sure the hole is big enough to put the plant in without having to stuff the roots together. Remember, you want the roots to be able to spread down and outwards in search of nutreints and water. And, the deeper, more expansive it is, the better the foundation of your plant.
- Insert the plant into the hole and allow it io lean towards the vertical space or structure.
- Keep in mind that its roots like to stay cool. As such, keep the crown about 3 to 4 inches under the surface. This will help all a layer of protection from the sun.
- Backfill the hole with soil and gently pack it in. you can likewise use this opportunity to add amendments to improve soil drainage or richness. You can use compost or potting mix to get this done. If the soil is heavy, add coarse sand to improve drainage.
- Water the plant and fertilize it.
Clematis armandii are toxic to both humans and animals. Although, they affect both in different ways.
- In dogs, cats and horses, ingestion can cause irritation as well as mouth ulcers.
- For humans, this symptoms can range from fainting and dizziness to vomiting, diarrhea and convulsions.
Either way, both are terrible. So, it’s a good idea to keep the plant away from young children and pets for safety purposes.
Pests and Disease
Clematis wilt should always be on your mind when growing any variety of this plant, the clematis armandii included. That said, I been fortunate enough to have never had to experience it in any of my clematis.
Because it is a fungal disease, prevention is very similar to other fungal and mold related problems like leaf spot and to a degree root rot. That is allow moisture to dry or drain.
For leaves, watering over the plant is a no-no. You also want to put it somewhere it gets enough air circulation which helps its leaves dry when they do get wet.
As for its roots, well draining soil is essential. This is the best and most efficient way of preventing your plant from getting wet feet.
The good news is, your evergreen clematis doesn’t really experience serious pets or disease issues. As long as you take care of it properly and give it proper conditions, it will do well.
However, like all plants, be on the lookout for pests. Here, the most common invaders include slugs, aphids, earwigs and caterpillars.
When you see any of these, it is important to act quickly because they spread.