Jennifer Schultz Nelson
Extension Educator, Horticulture
Clematis 'Jackmanii Superba'
Clematis is a great perennial vine to use in your garden as both a colorful and vertical element. With so many new colorful hybrids available each year, it may be tempting to pass on the "typical" purple cultivars. No matter what new colors are released, to me nothing matches a bright purple clematis in full bloom.
An established clematis in bloom is quite a site to behold. My aunt has one that covers a fence lining her patio, and the bold purple blooms totally covering the fence is striking. I'm hoping to reproduce the same effect on my own patio with the clematis I purchased this spring.
One of the clematis I purchased was 'Jackmanii Superba' there is a 'Jackmanii' clematis, but 'Jackmanii Superba' supposedly has bigger and better blooms. It is considered to be a "late" flowering cultivar, and welcomes being pruned back to a height of six to eight inches from the ground in early spring. Pruning is essential since the plant blooms only on new growth.
Like other clematis, 'Jackmanii Superba' performs best when its feet are in the shade and head is in the sun. In other words, mulch the roots and make sure the leaves and blooms are in the sun. Some, like 'Jackmanii Superba' can tolerate light shade.
Clematis in general thrive in moist but well-drained soil. Adding compost to increase the organic matter in the root zone of clematis is recommended. Also, regular fertilizing during the growing season will encourage plentiful blooms. Ample watering is important, especially new plantings that are not established yet.
Different clematis cultivars flower at different points in the summer. They are usually classified as "early", "mid" or "late" blooming. I purchased cultivars covering these three time intervals, in an effort to have continual blooms. Another option is to incorporate clematis with other flowering vines, or climbing roses to combine both color and visual textures. The options are limited only by your imagination.