Behind ‘Blue Ice’ (Clematis)

This is shaping up to be a pretty good year for Clematis in our garden. After a short-lived Clematis wilt scare, ‘Multi-Blue’ has performed beautifully, its best year ever.

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And the same can be said for Clematis ‘Blue Ice’, which was blooming lustily when I got back from out-of-town on Thursday. I planted ‘Blue Ice’ in the fall of 2013. For the following three years it very slowly increased its flowering. But this is the first year it’s really been covered with blooms.

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Being a bit slow to establish is the only criticism I can really make of ‘Blue Ice’. It tolerates part shade pretty well and requires minimal pruning.

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The flowers are just exceptional. A good six inches wide or even bigger. It starts pale blue, but with lavender ribs down the center of the sepals. (Clematis have sepals, not petals. What’s the difference? Not really sure, but one of us could google it and find out.)

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Anyway, as the flowers age they fade from pale blue to almost white.

I’ve read that ‘Ice Blue’ is very long-blooming. It starts off on the previous year’s growth, then blooms again on new growth later in the year. This hasn’t happened yet with our ‘Ice Blue’, but maybe this will be the year. I’ll keep it deadheaded just in case.

‘Ice Blue’ is not one of those monster vines – it tops out at 6 feet, making it a good fit for trellises and containers.

Of course, it’s the performance of the Clematis jackmanii that will set the overall tone for our year in Clematis. Last year I cut C. jackmanii back in the summer to get a second flush of blooms, as advised in a book I had just read. Unfortunately, the cutting back experiment was a flop.

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C. jackmanii on July 8, 2016.

It could be my imagination, but the C. jackmanii doesn’t look quite as vigorous as it did last year. Could last year’s cutting back have something to do with that? We shall see.

34 Comments on “Behind ‘Blue Ice’ (Clematis)

  1. I think your Jackmanii looks great. I can’t imagine what it would look like to be more vigorous than what I see in the photo you’ve posted. We’re somewhat limited in Texas as to the varieties of clematis we can grow.

  2. I aspire to have clematis as lovely as yours! I planted two this year and so far they look happy. Fingers crossed on you jackmanii.

  3. If you cut clematis back, there is no tangle of dead vines to curse at as they fall in your face or trip you as you walk by. This is the vine’s natural way of making you pause to admire it. Your Clematis jackmanii looks fabulous!

    • I’m hoping for an equally good show this year. So you’re saying that there are evolutionary reasons why plants trip us up.

  4. OMG. Your vines are beautiful. A neighbor has some very nice ones too but they are all hidden behind his fence.

  5. Beautiful. When you say Blue Ice does well in part shade, how many hours of sun does your vine get, more or less.

    • Mmm, that’s a tough one to answer. I’d say it gets just a couple of hours of full sun but several hours of filtered or dappled sun. Sorry if that’s a little vague.

  6. I have finally caught up with you again, Jason. Your gardens are looking wonderful, as I would fully expect. I loved that photo of the cardinal flower several posts back. I have one too, and will probably move it to a container to keep it out of trouble. Our purple clematis has recovered from transplanting, and has decided it likes the new location. All I need for it now is to get a trellis in place. I have never seen any signs of clematis wilt here. The problem in the old location was too much sun and I could not keep enough water on it in summer.

  7. Ice blue looks quite nice. It sort of makes you want to rub your eyes so you can tell if it is white or blue. I have a similar clematis, Blue Angel, that is a pale blue but the center is darker. It reblooms too supposedly early summer to fall. Mine doesn’t when it gets really hot and dry.
    I had a friend that cut back his Jackmanni every year. It was lush and full every year. Mine doesn’t get that treatment but is a good bloomer. I think your year last year was exceptional.

    • Well, that’s a thought. I do give my Clematis a generous helping of compost and some slow release fertilizer every spring.

  8. Glad the Clematis scare is over and that they are looking so gorgeous for you. They fill that gap between spring and summer. I’m envious because they won’t grow here.

  9. I would love to grow Clematis like yours & I think they can withstand a range of climatic temperatures … So will give it a try…. Down under!

  10. I wouldn’t complain if jackmanii was doing that in my garden….wow! Blue ice is just gorgeous, just love that delicate hint of lavender.xxx

  11. I have a weak spot for Clematis flowers that are white with a coloured stripe down the middle and the “multi-blue” is irresistible. The Jackmanii is stunning too, I’m having trouble finding ours as it’s growing within a rose and ceanothus and I’m not sure what flowering stage it’s at..? I’ll have to try and find it, it’s obviously not doing as well as yours if I’m having to search for it!

    • Sounds frustrating. Maybe try a different spot? Or look into different species/varieties that are better adapted to your location?

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