Big, bold, beautiful and deep purple, this summer clematis is hard to miss, especially when you see it adorning its usual spot -a mailbox. This is without a doubt one of the most popular clematis species on the market. There are dozens of cultivars. Easier to grow than some of the earlier blooming varieties, the Jackman clematis is the vine of choice when you need to make a noisy statement with flowers. Growing a bit shorter than other clematis, the Jackman clematis can be used in locations where a smaller-statured vine is needed. Like most clematis, this variety is somewhat bland looking when not in bloom and lends itself well as a “mixer” with other vines or shrubs that are more appealing in appearance.
Bloom Period and Seasonal Color
Perennial; deciduous; various color flowers, depending on variety, in summer
Full sun, Part sun/shade
When, Where, and How to Plant
Plant Jackman clematis either in fall or spring. Because of its early summer bloom, spring planting is preferable. Install in a location where the top of the plant receives full sun (although light shade is tolerated) but where the roots and base of the plant are protected by shade. The soil should be fertile and moist but well drained. Amend compacted soil with a 3 inch layer of soil conditioner mixed to a depth of 6-8 inches.
Water young plants weekly until showing vigorous growth. Once established, they can handle mild drought, but may need supplemental water in extremely dry weather. Use a half-tablespoon of 10-10-10 per foot of height in April with a secondary dose of a “bloom booster” fertilizer about a month later. Mulch 2 – 3 inches thick protect the roots from heat and to retain soil moisture.
Jackman clematis blooms on the current season’s growth and will often bloom better when pruned in early spring before new growth appears. Remove dead or diseased growth anytime. The vine will sometimes wilt for no apparent reason. Prune out the dead parts and it will likely make new sprouts from closer to the ground.
Companion Planting and Design
Jackman clematis, with its very showy flowers, makes a great vertical focal point in the garden when trained on a wire obelisk. Because it is shorter, it can be used in large containers or on a small trellis. It mixes well with climbing roses, often blooming at the same time as the repeat blooming rose varieties. For a real eye-catcher, mix the dark purple flowers with a softer pink rose. You might also see this vine used successfully climbing through evergreen shrubs such as holly or loropetalum.
My Personal Favorites
‘Nelly Moser’, ‘Comtesse de Bouchard’ and ‘Elsa Spath’ are the most common varieties found at nurseries. Try them if you are a clematis novice but look for other cultivars when you perfect your clematis skills.