Today i will share with you my experience with two wonderfully fragrant plants which are sweet autumn clematis and pink dombeya. Both grow very well in hot climates like Lahore and both can be grown in pots. Both have wonderful unique fragrance. Sweet autumn clematis as the name implies flower in late autumn while the pink dombeya flowers in winters just like white dombeya.
Lets start with sweet autumn clematis having the botanical name clematis terniflora. There are a lot of varieties of clematis vines, some are fragrant some are not. some bloom in spring, some in summer and some in autumn. Clematis is not a common vine in hot climates mainly because most of the varieties tend to dislike the extreme heat. Even in the warm climates they like to have their roots in shade and top in sun. There are some heat tolerant varieties which perform well in hot climates some of these include florida sieboldii, clematis viticella etc. There is only one variety of clematis which grows even in full sun in hot climates like Lahore and that is the only clematis vine i am growing in my garden, that is none other than sweet autumn clematis. Of course, it needs protection from afternoon sun in summers specially when young but after an year or two, it is mature enough to tolerate the all day sun. Still, it is advised to give it shade in hot summers afternoon. Here is the picture of my sweet autumn clematis, this picture i took from my terrace, the plant is rooted in soil bed.
This clematis has wonderful chocolate fragrance which wafts in the air. It is a fast grower and seldom bothered by pests and diseases. It is semi evergreen for me in Lahore. Note that there is another variant of sweet autumn clematis which has similar flowers and blooms more than once in the whole year but its flowers have no fragrance. Mine is fragrant but blooms in autumn only. You should get a small specimen of this plant under 500 Rs from a good nursery. Although it will flower in a pot too but the real potential of this beauty can only be utilized in soil bed.
Talking about fragrance, there are very very few fragrant perennials which bloom in winter in Lahore. Pink Dombeya is one of them. Now there are two varieties of pink dombeya available here. One is with hanging clusters of pink flowers and have very good fragrance which is dombeya wallichii whereas another pink variety whose flowers are erect and no fragrance is dombeya seminole. Dombeya seminole is usually grafted on the white common dombeya hence more expensive whereas dombeya wallichii is grown mostly through layering so less expensive than seminole. I am of course growing the fragrant version of this pink dombeya. I got it around the price range of 300 – 400 Rs which was a small plant but it flowers very early when young and it grows very well in pot too. So you might see an 8 feet high dombeya wallichii in a 14 inches pot whereas the Dombeya seminole does no gain that much height. Here are the pictures of my dombeya wallichii grown in a 14 inches clay pot in full sun. The fragrance of it flowers contains notes of caramel and reminds me of pink Kashmiri tea 🙂
Because the flowers hide behind the large leaves and i had to remove some leaves just to take this picture, it is advised to let it grow upward instead of a bushy plant so you need to remove all side shoots of this plant. Eventually it will grow upward and you can see hanging clusters of flowers just like brugmansia. I am showing below a picture of dombeya seminole, this is not my picture, i took it from internet, but you can see the difference in flowers.
There are other colors of dombeya too including red dombeya, other shades of white and pink etc but not all are available here. I hope you enjoyed these two gems of sweet autumn clematis and pink dombeya, do post comments, i would love to hear your experience.