Today I will guide you on how to grow clematis in hot climate (Lahore). Clematis is a large genus and there are many varieties. Most varieties are suitable to cool climate while some varieties perform good in hot climate too. I have been growing couple of varieties of clematis in Lahore for more than 3 years now. All the clematis pictures in this post are from my garden in Lahore. Here are some tips and tricks to grow clematis in Lahore.
Clematis like well draining medium. I had best results with bhal 70% and leaf compost 30%. I did not get good results with expensive media like peat moss, perlite etc. It is better to grow clematis in pot for first couple of years and then transplant it in ground.
Which Variety to choose
Clematis from group 3 are successful in Lahore and other similar climate. There are two main group of climatis which grow good in Lahore:
1- Sweet Autumn clematis
Clematis terniflora is the easiest to grow clematis and i recommend this to everybody who wish to grow clematis in a hot climate. It is fragrant and it is very prolific bloomer. It covers the whole plant with flowers. There are two variants of this plant. The one I have flowers only in autumn and very fragrant. The other one is not fragrant but flowers in spring and autumn. This one is wild in Murree too.
2- Clematis Viticella. Clematis Florida and other group 3 clematis
These are mostly crosses and hybirds from Viticella group and there are many other clematis varieties which perform well in hot climate.
Only sweet autumn clematis can take the full sun in Lahore whole year that too if plant is established. As a general guideline, keep clematis plants in partial shade(morning sun only) from April – October. Then from October to March keep in direct full sun all day. In hottest months of May-June, you should keep them in total bright shade with no direct sun. Cover with green net to reduce sun exposure as well.
I use NPK foliar spray twice a month in growing season. Vermicompost and well rotted organic compost is also beneficial. Clematis also likes occasional foliar spray of seaweed extract. Remember, clematis will bloom many times a year if you keep watering and sun exposure right. Fertilizer will increase bloom size and count but bloom trigger is not fertilizer.
Use neem oil as preventive measure to handle pests. I noticed aphids and mites sometimes trouble clematis. I also feed with systematic fungicide in monsoon to prevent root rot. Using neem cake powder is also beneficial to combat root issues.
Clematis can bloom many times a year in hot climate like Lahore if it is taken proper care of. I grow most of my plants on rooftop which gets very hot in summers. But clematis has proven to be a tough beast. Keep it in shade and it will bloom even in June.
It will go dormant in winter, so hold watering until you see new growth sprouting in spring. In winters, it will be just twigs with no leaves. Do no think that it is dead, it is just dormant. Do not do the scratch test, your clematis is most probably alive.
Regarding pruning, I prune sweet autumn clematis in spring. While other clematis varieties i prune in spring or in monsoon depending on growth habit. Clematis is a collector item and only available from few nurseries or some vendors. The colored ones are available around 2500-3500 Rs per plant. It can be propagated from layering in July but not easy to propagate.
Check my other posts having clematis picture on these links. https://www.lahoregardening.com/2017/01/sweet-autumn-clematis-and-pink-dombeya.html and https://www.lahoregardening.com/2011/06/flowers-of-murree-hills-nathia-gali.html
And here is a very healthy discussion on growing clematis in Lahore and in Pakistan on my gardening pakistan discussion forum https://gardeningpakistan.com/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=1773&hilit=clematis
I hope you like my guide on how to grow clematis in hot climate (Lahore). Stay tuned for the next article !!!!!