If you’ve ever stopped to admire an abundance of star-shaped flowers growing on a vine—then chances are you’ve experienced the beauty of clematis first-hand. Although nearly all clematis prefer climbing and grow into a medium-tall vine, the flowers can come in various colors and shapes—with over 300 varieties of clematis to choose from.
Whether you’ve been hoping to add more of these fantastic plants to your garden or are just hoping to find the perfect match for a bare trellis—we’ve got you covered. Here are ten popular clematis varieties to consider growing in your garden.
- 10 Popular Clematis Varieties For Your Garden:
- Clematis Flower FAQs:
10 Popular Clematis Varieties For Your Garden:
1. ‘Nelly Moser’ Clematis
Grow Zone: 4–11
The Nelly Moser Clematis, also called the Early Large-Flowered Clematis, is a garden favorite known for its large, early-blooming pink flowers. This clematis is easy to grow and tends to bloom twice throughout the growing season, with the first (larger) flush happening in late spring to early summer and the second (smaller) flush happening in late summer to early fall.
Like most clematis, the Nelly Moser prefers moist, well-draining soil and can thrive in full sun to part shade, and isn’t fussy about regular watering cycles. This particular variety reaches heights of eight to ten feet, making it an excellent choice for covering tall fences or trellis. For best results, you’ll want to prune your Nelly Moser in late winter or early spring (before the first flush) and again after the first flush to encourage a second one. You’ll also want to keep an eye on any common clematis pests, bugs, and diseases.
2. Clematis Montana
Grow Zone: 6–9
Clematis Montana actually refers to a group of clematis that comes in a number of different varieties, including the Clematis Freda, Clematis Elizabeth, and Clematis Montana Rubens. What all of these varieties have in common is their incredible climbing abilities—they’ve been known to reach up to 40 feet high and up to 15 feet wide.
Native to China, these clematises typically have pink or white blooms in varying sizes and require moist, well-drained soil in part to full sun. Like most clematis, these ones enjoy their “heads in the sun and feet in the shade” so be sure to add some extra mulch or even a few large rocks to keep their roots and bases shaded.
3. Florida clematis
Grow Zone: 7–11
As the name would suggest, the Florida clematis thrives in warmer climates with mild winters and hot summers. This deciduous vine produces lots of creamy white flowers, with the first bloom happening in late spring to early summer, after which it should be deadheaded to encourage a second fall bloom.
A fast grower, the Florida clematis can quickly reach heights of six to eight feet tall. Although it can grow in part shade, this type of clematis will produce much healthier blooms if in full sun with some built-in shade around its base (like rocks or heavy mulching).
4. Armand clematis
Grow Zone: 7–9
Also known as the Evergreen Clematis or by its latin name (Clematis armandii), this variety of clematis is a woody perennial that can climb anywhere from 15 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. Native to southern Asia, this variety also prefers warm climates and lots of direct sunlight, as well as rich, well-draining soil.
Because of its growth potential, this clematis will require a sturdy trellis or another surface to climb up. This highly fragrant variety will bloom on old wood and should be pruned after flowering to encourage a second flush.
5. Alpine clematis
Grow Zone: 4–8
Another aptly named clematis, the hardy Alpine Clematis, is one of the first of all the varieties to bloom each season, sometimes having its first flush as early as May. Given that it grows in colder climes, this clematis also has a more modest growth rate and typically reaches heights of roughly six to ten feet tall and widths of three to six feet.
Much like other northern varieties, this type of clematis will thrive in full to part shade with moist, rich soil. Since it blooms on old growth, you can skip the pruning for this variety and instead enjoy its display of nodding pink or blue flowers with relatively little maintenance.
6. ‘Duchess of Edinburgh’ Clematis
Grow Zone: 4–8
This northern-growing clematis is another early bloomer that thrives in full sun or part shade and well-drained moist soil. One of the best things about this variety is the large, showy white blooms it produces, which can be anywhere from four to six inches wide.
This winter-hardy pollinator can grow up to 12 feet tall, making it an ideal choice for arbors, pergolas, or a large trellis. Since the flowers of this variety come in on new growth, it’s best to prune this clematis in late winter or early spring before things kick off. You can prune again after the first flush to encourage a second one as well.
7. Texas Clematis
Grow Zone: 4–8
A cold and drought-hardy variety that hails from Texas, the Texas Clematis is also known as the Scarlet Clematis or by its latin name (Clematis texensis). This particular variety of clematis can grow up to 15 feet tall and three feet wide and is beloved for its blue-green leaves that come into stark contrast with the scarlet red petals of each flower.
Like many other clematis on this list, the Texas Clematis prefers full sun or part shade and to be planted in rich, well-draining soil. This clematis blooms from mid-summer into early fall and requires a “hard pruning”, meaning you’ll cut it back to a set of promising buds in early spring.
8. ‘Perle d’Azur Clematis
Grow Zone: 4–11
If you’re looking to add some large climbing blue flowers to your garden, then you might just like the ‘Perle d’Azur Clematis, named for the sky-blue violet flowers with pink centers that grow up to 4 inches wide.
Like many other varieties, the ‘Perle d’Azur Clematis prefers full to part sun and moist, well-draining soil and can climb up to 12 feet tall and do some early-season fertilizing. These showy vines bloom in mid-summer through late fall and should be pruned in early spring.
9. Orange Peel Clematis
Grow Zone: 4–9
The Orange Peel Clematis (Clematis tangutica), also known as the Golden Clematis or Old Man’s Beard Clematis, is possibly one of the most unique-looking varieties on this list. The thick yellow petals (that do, in fact, resemble orange peels), as well as the feathery mass of seedpods it has later in the season, have all undoubtedly contributed to its names.
This variety does best in full sun, with ample shade (in the form of mulch or pebbles) covering its roots. This perennial woody vine is an excellent climber that can reach heights up to 15 feet tall, attracting plenty of butterflies and hummingbirds throughout the bloom cycle.
10. ‘Henryi’ Clematis
Grow Zone: 4–11
Known as one of the largest white-flowered clematis, the ‘Henryi’ Clematis or Early Large-Flowered Clematis (not to be confused with the pink Nelly Moser clematis on this list which also goes by that name), has blooms that can grow to eight inches across.
Hardy in colder climes, this clematis can also grow to be up to 15 feet long and makes for an excellent climber with large, showy flowers to cover any of your garden structures. It prefers full sun, moist soil, regular pruning (in late spring), and deadheading after the first bloom to encourage a second one.
It’s also worth noting that all parts of the clematis plant are considered poisonous, so it’s prudent to wear protective gloves when overseeing any form of care with these plants.
Clematis Flower FAQs:
What does clematis symbolize?
The Clematis flower traditionally symbolizes joy and good luck for travelers, poverty, mental acuity, and beauty.
What color is clematis?
Clematis are available in many colors, but most are shades of pink and purple.
What are the other common names for clematis?
Other common names for Clematis flowers include Old man’s beard, Traveller’s joy, and Devil’s darning needle.
How long does clematis bloom?
Spring blooming Clematis start as early as March and are done by the summer, while summer blooming varieties start in May to June and finish in the fall.
Does clematis come back every year?
Many Clematis varieties are perennials and return year after year if the winter is not too harsh for them. You can also transplant clematis in early spring if needed.
The Final Word
With a clematis variety for nearly every climate, it’s easy to find one that works best in your garden. Remember, the secret to success is to always let the conditions of your garden inform what plants you grow, clematis included. Choose one that will thrive in your specific soil and light conditions, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a vine-covered clematis paradise!
Larissa is a writer, gardener, and herbalist living in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. Her writing has been widely published in lifestyle and personal finance publications all over the country, and she's also the creator of the weekly newsletter @rootedintribe.