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 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

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