- Type Flowering vine
- Lifespan Perennial
- Growing Zones 3 to 9
- Light Sun
- Water Well-drained soil
- When to Plant Spring or fall
- Design Tip Hide a wall
- Companions Jasmine, hydrangeas
- Peak Season Spring and summer
Clematis: A Field Guide
A versatile and hardy flowering vine, clematis is a well-behaved favorite and an excellent choice to adorn an arbor, trail from a trellis, or climb a tree.
With more than 250 species to choose among, clematis vines flower in shades of purple, blue, white, pink, and burgundy in temperate climates (you can find cultivars to thrive in USDA growing zones 3 to 9). A long-lived perennial, clematis will clamber gracefully across the top of a fence to fill in bare spots—without ever behaving invasively.
Plant these sun-loving vines in spring or fall in well-drained soil. The foliage will die back in winter and may be slow to emerge in spring—mark the spot where it’s planted so you can avoid disturbing the roots before the vine leafs out.
Some of our favorites include the “stronger and taller growing clematis vines such as the vigorous Montana group,” writes our contributor Jeanne Rostaing, noting that the Montanas “can also be planted at the base of a tree and trained to grow up the trunk and into the crown to produce a flower display high above the rest of the garden.”