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Montana Group:

When gardeners want to cover fences, gazebos, sheds and the like, they often turn to this group. These vines are derived from C. montana, as well as C. spooneri and C. chyrsocoma. All of these are Asiatic species.

Many of the selections in this section are some of the most vigorous and tallest vines in the Genus Clematis. They bloom on the previous year's wood. If you must cut them back to downsize them, do so just after they have completed their spring-to-summer bloom. Although these are basically one-time blooming vines, they produce such a show of flowers that they exceed most gardeners' expectations. Flowers are not solitary but grow in groups on stems coming from flower-axils. Quite a few of the cultivars have a delicious fragrance often described as almond-like. C. montana var. rubens 'Pink Perfection' has extra-large flowers that easily perfume an entire late spring garden.

The foliage is attractive and roughly toothed. Many recent cultivars, such as C. 'Broughton Star', have very dark, almost black, young growth which greens out as it matures.

Some use these vines to create summer shade over decks, porches and patios. Because they lose their leaves, they allow light into these areas in the winter.

A caution about planting these vines: please plant them at the same level they are in their pot. Do not plant them deeply.

We do not recommend most of the vines in this group for smaller gardens or for gardeners in areas colder than USDA Zone 7. 

Tangutica Group

There are many species involved in the cultivars that are included in this group. Those species belong to Section Meclatis which encompasses C. orientalis, C. serratifolia, C. tangutica and C. tibetana among others. Sometimes this group is called the Orientalis Group.

When gardeners ask for yellow clematis, we know this is the group that they are asking for. Not all the flowers in this section are yellow, however. Many are white or cream colored and a few are orange-yellow or brownish or even almost black. The flowers are nodding bells and vary in size depending on the cultivar. 

Many of the vines in this section can get quite tall. One cultivar that is suited to a smaller garden is C. 'Helios' which has extra-large yellow bells and blooms through the summer into the fall. The sepals open broadly looking almost like the ridge-line of a pagoda roof. The silvery seed-heads are equal to the flowers in beauty. For a large space, we grow C. 'Bill MacKenzie' which blooms through the summer into the fall. It can reach enormous heights and cover a fence or gazebo.

Vines in this section are woody but bloom on the current year's growth. Some texts recommend cutting back stems at varying heights to preserve some of the vine's height. We have had good luck cutting the entire vine back to a growth point at the end of winter. A light feed can stimulate new growth. It does not take long for the vine to become large again.

The roots of the vines in this section are fine and should not be buried deeply. Plant these vines at the level they are in their pots. If you garden in heavy clay, use some grit to improve the drainage.

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