My Clematis: What I Call A Quality Problem

Let me start by saying that I am a very modest person. Ask anyone who knows me well. However, at the risk of appearing to be a braggart, I have to say this: my garden has an absolutely honking enormous Clematis jackmanii.

Clematis jackmanii last Sunday.
Clematis jackmanii last Sunday.

And it’s getting bigger. Above is our Clematis in a photo taken this past Sunday.

Same Clematis on July 8, 2014.
Same Clematis on July 8, 2014.

And this is the same Clematis from last year. It’s pretty clear, I think, that there has been significant expansion. (Though it’s a little tricky to see  because the two photos are taken from different angles.)

Actually, there are two Clematis jackmanii. The first and larger vine has spawned an offspring to its left, which is itself starting to become huge.

Back to the present day, summer of 2015.
Back to the present day, summer of 2015. You can see the Clematis is turning the corner and taking over the railing to the front door landing. Oh, and I just left that unpainted wooden trellis against the wall meaning to use it for something else. Next thing I know it has been commandeered by the Clematis King.

So now I have what could be called a quality problem: too much Clematis for the trellising available (not to mention the railing on the front door landing.

Clearly I need to attach more trellising to the west-facing brick wall of our house. But what is the best way to do that? I could trellis upward – maybe attach 10′ or 12′ vertical rebar to the wall with horizontal wires attached. Or tear out the wooden trellis and replace it with a much taller one.

Another possibility would be to trellis out rather than up. You can’t see it in these pictures, but there is more west-facing wall going to the left towards the attached garage.

Thoughts?

77 Comments on “My Clematis: What I Call A Quality Problem

    • I have three different Clematis now, though two are still quite small (‘Elsa Speth’ and ‘Blue Ice’). Actually, even at maturity they are only supposed to go to 6′, so they will always be dwarfed by jackmanii.

  1. ‘It’s a lovely problem to have…and it looks so healthy and lush!
    I’m not sure how handy you are (or whether you want to spend much on the project), but perhaps build a small arbour over the front landing?
    Four posts, 8 bags of rapid-set cement and two top rails with lattice fixed in-between the top and sides could give you some serious climber-growing space 🙂

  2. Absolutely gorgeous. Puts mine (which bloomed in spring but now is all brown leaves) to shame. Matt’s idea sounds like a good one.

  3. We installed a lovely wrought iron trellis and planted Clematis jackmanii just last week. I had no idea what the mature vine looked like. Wow!

  4. Wow! I mean, it was already a honking big clematis last year! I have no suggestions to offer. I’m happy if my clematis come back at the same size as last year, and I don’t expect ever to have a “problem” like this one. 😉

  5. Which zone are you in? My clematis bloomed in mid May. But wow, what are tou feeding it :)) Gorgeous! I never know whether I should prune mine and don’t do much with it for fear of ruining mine, so I just let it be, but clearly you need some plans in place to keep the beauty going.

    • We’re in zone 5b, though some people say we have shifted into 6a. As far as feeding, I just give it generous doses of composted manure. I do cut mine back to about 24″ in March.

  6. Whatever your doing, keep doing it! I suggest you just enjoy your house while you can before it takes over your room and puts its head on your pillow. :o)

  7. Most gorgeous clematis I’ve ever seen! I think Matt’s idea of an arbor would look really great:)

  8. Superb! In fact it’ s name is ‘ Jackmanii superba’ isn’ t it? A very appropriate name; whatever do you feed it on?

    • You are right. I thought jackamanii was the specific name. It appears that this plant is written both Clematis x jackmanii Superba and Clematis ‘Jackmanii Superba’. Either way, it certainly is superb.

  9. Yes, my first thought is to send your blogging friend, me, a cutting so I could have a spectacular, wicked cool, clematis like that in my garden and you wouldn’t need extra trellis. 🙂 Mine revolted because of the winter and greened up but not even one blossom. 😦

    • Your winter was a lot harder and longer than ours this year. I hope the next one is better! I’d be happy to send you a cutting.

  10. It ain’t bragging if it’s true 😉 What a beauty!

  11. Lovely. It’s obviously perfectly happy where it is. I’d try to train it up and over the doorway.

  12. A lovely jackamanii, Jason! I was thinking just the other day, how little experience most gardeners have with training of climbing vines, particularly clematis. We plant the vine, typically with its 2′ foot (or less) pot trellising marketing it to us that it is a vine. We seldom consider we should have the structure in place BEFORE we plant it. I think this is from a culture of “try and fail” because vines are foreign to us. Virginia creeper is about the only climbing in my natural landscape you come across.

    • Very true. When I first planted this vine, maybe five years ago, I had no conception of what it would look like when it matured. It has proven to be much more long lived than the native Trumpet Honeysuckles I have planted.

  13. Have you considered splaying wires from your house? One hook, screwed into house, with several wires splayed and attached to existing trellis, for more vertical growth.

  14. Wonderful clematis jackmanii Jason. Love this color, mine is another color more in red. I cut clematis roots one year ago and noticed that it’s hard enough growing in another spot.

  15. Like Helen above, this is a problem I’d like to have. Like Jean, I’m happy if my clematis returns the same size.

  16. You will pardon me if I can’t work up a lot of sympathy for this particular problem. And you’ve already gotten lots of good advice, so I will just sign off in a cloud of envy.

  17. Gosh….you sure deserve to brag!!!! To hell with being humble! It’s gorgeous, I wouldn’t risk anything other than trellising outwards…one would NOT want to ANGER it after all!xxx

  18. We have one that size on our street that is planted in the median strip and it is that bushy. The neighbor that planted it used wire and it has been growing around the light standard for years. At least clematis does not get as heavy as other vines. I had a couple in my garden a long time ago and had to remove them because they got so large. Trimming them was my only option as they took up the whole fence. Mine was attached to wire mesh, anchored with rebar. It could have supported wisteria. Maybe just trim it.

  19. I have to keep mine pruned because I don’t have enough trellis….one actually started climbing through a tall bush….they are just stunning when they are big like yours.

  20. I would be sooooo tempted to plunk a black powder-coated aluminum arbor right in front of the door and let the clematis romp its way up, across, and down the other side…….

  21. Just LOVELY! As others have suggested, training over the doorway to arch over to the other side would be awesome. Small eye-hooks to which you can attach heavy duty fishing line, or twine, can provide support, without interfering with the architecture of the doorway. I’ve seen this done inconspicuously at The Chicago Botanic Garden. 24″ spacing works pretty good.

    I too have been so enchanted with Clematis this year that I ordered 3 more vines.

  22. I read this post in complete envy after what happened to my Clematis Chantilly. I do hope yours stays wilt-free. Clematis Jackmanii has been on my shopping list for a little while now, I just haven’t got anything for it to climb up yet! Yours on the trellis looks absolutely superb.

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