How to mix different clematis plants on one arbor

Written by lorraine o'neil
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Clematis is a woody climbing vine that can be grown against a trellis, fence, arbor or wall. Combining several clematis plants on one arbor can provide a thick covering, and the staggered blooming of different clematis varieties can extend the time that your arbor is in bloom. To combine several plants you will need to train your clematis to grow together along the arbor so that the branches form one uniform surface. Choose clematis with complementary flowers or several colours of the same variety for a coordinated arbor.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Clematis plants
  • Arbor
  • Twine

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  1. 1

    Decide which type of clematis plants you want to use. You can combine clematis varieties or grow several colours of the same type. In zone 4 or higher, consider mixing early-blooming clematis, like alpine clematis, with midsummer bloomers, like Comtesse de Bouchard, and late bloomers, like Clematis flammula, also known as fragrant clematis. This way your arbor will have blooms all summer.

  2. 2

    Plant your clematis along the base of the arbor, 18 inches from the arbor itself. Leave at least 18 inches and ideally 36 inches between each plant.

  3. 3

    Train your clematis to the arbor using soft twine. Tie the stems of small plants to the arbor right after planting, and continue training the vines as they grow. Direct the vines across the arbor so that they mix with one another, weaving the stems through the arbor and across the other plants. Make loose loops with the twine so that your clematis will be held in place but not squished.

  4. 4

    Spread the vines so that all bare areas of the arbor are covered, and allow your clematis to fill the empty spaces. Leaves and flowers will eventually fill up the arbor, creating a covered arch. Water and prune your clematis as needed according to recommendations for your specific plant (different clematis have different pruning needs).

Tips and warnings

  • For easier pruning, use several colours of the same type of clematis. This means you will not have staggered blooming, but pruning will be simpler. If you do choose to use different types of plants, you can prune each individually or simply prune the tips of your plants when they grow too large. Minimal pruning means your may have fewer flowers, but clematis plants can stay healthy and vibrant with little pruning.

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