What Is a Clematis Hybrid?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2019
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A Clematis hybrid is a cross between two species within the genus Clematis. With hundreds of wild species, this genus offers a wide range of options for gardeners interested in hybridizing to bring out specific traits, ranging from hardiness in the cold to specific bloom colors. There are over 400 Clematis hybrids available on the market, some of which are quite rare and may be primarily obtained through seed and cutting exchanges. Gardeners interested in cultivating this plant should be able to find it at garden supply stores and through gardening exchanges.

Members of this genus grow rapidly, and produce showy flowers in a range of colors including red, white, and pink. They can be grown in a variety of climates, including regions where it gets well below freezing in the winter, and relatively warm locations. The tropics are not ideal for growing Clematis, because they tend to be too warm, but some plants may thrive with proper care. Gardeners can also grow it in greenhouses and other indoor environments.


These woody vines have a twining growth habit, and need a supportive substrate to grow on. It is possible to train a Clematis hybrid to encourage it to follow a specific trellis, wall, or post. These plants tend to like part sun to shade, and prefer neutral soil that stays cool and moist. To protect the roots of a Clematis hybrid, it can help to mulch well to help the soil retain water and keep the roots cool. Mulching will also protect the plant in freezing climates when extremely cold conditions might endanger the root system.

Hybrids offer a number of advantages to gardeners. They are carefully bred for consistency, and tend to perform better than wild species in the garden. Cross-breeding may also allow for increased vigor, as well as a variety of visual appearances. The flowers can vary widely in size and color, allowing a gardener to select a Clematis hybrid that will go well with the rest of the garden. Because the plants can grow successfully inside larger trees and shrubs, they may be paired with plants that produce blooms in similar shades for more visual interest.

Periodic pruning is recommended to keep a Clematis hybrid in good shape, and fertilizing in the spring is also advised to keep growth vigorous. Some cultivars resist deer, and they also tolerate black walnuts, which can discourage other plant growth with herbicide they produce naturally. If a Clematis fails to thrive, it may be the result of excessive water or fertilizer, too little, or an infection with fungus or other organisms. A careful inspection can provide more information and may help a gardener determine how to address the situation.



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