The Clematis montana is somewhat different from those that you’re probably familiar with. Clematis are known for their large, beautiful and colorful flowers. However, that isn’t the case here.
Instead you have smaller blooms that are many in number. Thus, they aren’t as stunning or eye catching as the others. But, clumped together, they are very beautiful. Their vanilla scent is likewise very appealing to the senses.
The plant also goes by a few names include Anemone Clematis, mountain clematis and Himalayan clematis. So, if you see any of these, they all refer to the Clematis montana.
Like other clematis, this one is a fast growing climber. It can grow as high as 20 to 40 feet high and cover a spread of 6 to 15 feed.
The plant also comes in a few varieties. Thus, you get a choose from a few colors including purple, pink, white and burgundy.
Clematis Montana Plant Care
Clematis Montana Light
The clematis montana requires full sun. That means it needs at least 6 hours of light on a daily basis. However, if you live in a warm region where the afternoon sun is intense, it will appreciate being in a shaded area that time of the day. Similarly, keep it under partial shade during the summer months when the sun’s rays are very harsh.
As with many other clematis varieties, it likes it head under the sun and its roots cool. As such, while the plant needs lots of sunlight to grow optimally, its roots are best kept away from the sun’s rays.
The easiest way to do this is by using mulch to cover the base of the plant. Similarly, you can use rocks or stones to do so.
As such, the best places to grow the plant is facing east, west or south. Each of these locations offer enough light throughout the day to satisfy the plant’s needs. However, you do need to provide more shade in the west and the south because they are exposed to afternoon sun.
In both locations, it is a good idea to keep them in a bright, sheltered locations where they get filtered sunlight.
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Clematis Montana Temperature & Humidity
The clematis montana is a popular garden plant in USDA zones 6 to 9. It is in these regions where it is best suited for the weather as the plant is hardy to about -10 degrees Fahrenheit. At most, it can go as low as -5 degrees.
As such, it isn’t completely afarid of the cold. But, it cannot also take lower freezing temperatures like some other plants do.
Thus, if you want to enjoy this beautiful plant but live somewhere cooler, it would be a good option to grow it in a pot. While pots are not the most ideal plant to grow it because of its potential size and ability to climb, it is fairly easy to grow the plant in one.
In the same way that the plant cannot tolerated extreme cold, it isn’t a fan of extreme heat. More importantly, its roots like to stay cool.
Watering Clematis Montana
Overall, Clematis are thirsty plants. But, the montana is one of the lesser ones.
During its first year, it will need regular watering on a weekly basis. During this time you want to keep the soil moist, especially during the warm month.
However, as it matures, it won’t need as much water. As such, you’ll be watering less than once a week.
That said the plant likes slightly moist soil. More importantly,, it cannot tolerate dry periods or too much water. Both are detrimental to it.
A good way to keep soil moist is to use mulch. This helps with water retention while keeping the plants’ roots cool as well. As long as you don’t overwater the plant, it will do fine. Otherwise, it can run the risk of root rot.
If you’re growing the plant in a container, be aware that the soil dries out faster during warm conditions. As such, you need to monitor it more closely than if planted in your garden.
One of the best features of the clematis montana is that it is more resistant to Clematis wilt compared to other varieties. As such, this gives you a little more leeway to make mistakes with overwatering.
That said, it is still important to be reduce giving it too much water and wetting the plant from above because it can still get other fungal diseases which are caused by moisture issues.
The clematis montana likes moist but well-drained soil. While it can tolerate clay and chalk soil, it grows optimally in loam because this kind of soil is drains moisture better, is lighter and richer.
To grow at its best, your Himalayan clematis likes deep and fertile soil. Thus, if your garden has clay or sandy soil, it is a good idea to use compost to improve its structure. Compost also increases organic matter to make it more fertile.
The best time to plant clematis montana is during the fall or springtime. Keeping it deeper in the soil keeps it cooler as well as the extra layer protects it from the sun.
Also, its since its shoots grown from beneath the ground, they are better able to recover from Clematis wilt should it happen.
If you want to grow the plant in a pot, it is a good idea to keep a few things in mind.
- Clematis montana do well in containers. Although their size can make it a little challenging. Similarly, containers limit their ability to climb even if you add vertical stakes onto the soil.
- Make sure the pot has drainage holes.
- Use a potting mix that is well-draining. This in combination with the drainage holes will keep the plant from being waterlogged. You can use perlite to improve drainage if you find the potting soil isn’t doing a good enough job.
- Check the soil before watering. If the top is still moist, wait a little bit longer before watering.
- Always allow the soil to drain when watering.
- You’ll need to repot every 2 to 3 ears to allow the plant to keep growing and producing lots of blossoms.
In the garden, the Himalayan clematis grows best when given something to climb on. Its multitude of small flowers makes it different from large flower clematis because of the way they look. As such, you do have a choice on which you prefer for your yard.
That said, allowing your Clematis montana grow on pergolas, trellises, fences and arbors allows it to look its best.
Fertilizing Clematis Montana
Use a slow release fertilizer on during spring to help your Clematis montana produce more flowers and foliage. It is likewise a good idea to add compost to promote growth.
To get the most out of their blooming period, once its flowers begin to appear apply liquid fertilizer all the way through until they start fading.
For container plants, you can likewise use a general purpose fertilizer monthly.
Clematis montana are vigorous growers. And they’re able to climb up vertical spaces very well. Left unpruned they can reach 40 feet in height and get dense.
In addition to size and shaping, pruning also encourages it to produce more flowers. So, while it isn’t necessary to prune the plant (being a group 1 clematis), doing so can make your look more beautiful.
The best time to prune Clematis montana is after it blooms in late spring or summer. You can likewise prune it during the fall provided it isn’t too cold in your area.
When you do, here are a few things to remember.
- You don’t need to be aggressive. The goal is to keep the plant tidy and neat looking. You can likewise thin it a bit if it is getting too dense for your liking.
- Cut back long branches
- Prune away dead or damages shoots
Clematis montana can be propagated via semi-hardwood cuttings or by layering. You can likewise start from seed although it takes much longer to do so (up to 3 years before it flowers).
Propagating Clematis Montana from Cuttings
The most popular way to propagate Clematis montana is from cuttings. This allows you to grow a clone of the mother plant since you’re using its own DNA.
To propagate Clematis montana from cuttings:
- Make a cutting from a healthy shoot that isn’t flowering. Ideally you want the cutting to have at least a few leaves.
- The best time to do this is during the spring until summer.
- Once you have the cutting, dip it in rooting hormone.
- Then plant the cutting and allow to root. It will take about 5 to 8 weeks for this to happen.
- By next spring it will be ready to be moved.
- Don’t expect the plant to flower during the first year. During this time it will establish itself. But by year 2, you should be able to enjoy some blossoms.
Clematis Montana Transplanting & Repotting
When planting or transplanting your Clematis montana pick a spot where it will receive full sun but is able to keep its roots under shade as much as possible. The plant needs at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Additionally, it is a good option to place it somewhere close (8 to 12 inches away) from a climbing structure or vertical space. Things like fences, arbors and trellises are perfect. By allowing the plant to climb up it is able to grow upwards to between 20 and 40 feet. As such, prune as needed to keep its shape and size in control.
The plant likewise does best in fertile, well draining soil. It doesn’t like being wet nor does it like drying out. So, if your garden soil is heavy like clay, add sand into the hole that you dig to improve draingage.
Speaking of which do dig a big enough hole to plant your Clematis montana. You also want to dig deep enough since it is ideal to put the crown of the plant about 2 to 3 inches under the surface. This allows new shoots to grow from beneath the soil.
Doing so keeps the plant cooler. It also improves its ability to recover from Clematis wilt in case that happens. Likewise, add a layer of mulch over the based of the plant to help protect the roots from the sun. You can use rocks or pebbles as well.
Clematis montana is toxic to both people and animals. If ingested is can cause dizziness, convulsions, diarrhea and vomiting. So if you have any young children around, it is a good idea to keep them away from the plant.
Similarly, the plant is likewise toxic to dogs and cats. The good news is, the plant tastes bitter which keeps your pets away from it.
Pests and Diseases
Clematis montana are more resistant to clematis wilt relative to other varieties. However, it can still get it. So, it is a good idea to keep moisture in check and not allow it to cause problems.
Too much moisture puts your plant at risk of powdery mildew and slime flux, which is a bacteria that affects the plant when it gets injured. Unfortunately, Clematis slime flux will cause your plant to wilte and become foul smelling at the stem. Left untreated, it can kill your plant.
When it comes to pests, aphids, thrips, whitefly, blackfly and greenfly are common problems as well.