Clematis Armandii

A Quick Guide to Growing Clematis Armandii

To add a lovely scented splash of color to a warm climate garden, many gardeners and landscapers reach for the clematis armandii.  Delicate blooms that twine decoratively along any type of support, this flowering vine proves to be a favorite among many.

About clematis

Clematis is the name assigned to a large group of climbing vines in the Ranunculaceae family.  Including over 250 species, most of the plants are deciduous; although some, like the armandii, are evergreen.  A few varieties are classified as herbaceous.  One of the great things about clematis is that there is a variety that is ideal for just about any growing zone, with several types hardy to USDA Zone 3.  Evergreen varieties such as the C. armandii are not freeze hardy, and therefore are more appropriate to USDA Zones 8-10.

A true gardener’s dream is a plant that is lovely to behold, heavenly scented and easy to maintain.  The C. armandii is the answer to that dream.  One of a handful of evergreen varieties, this climber shows visual interest with the new, young leaf emergence of handsome bronze colored foliage.  Mingled with dark, glossy evergreen leaves, the vine is an eye catching display all on its own.  However, the plant becomes even more appealing as blossoms appear in late winter; blanketing the vine with creamy white, star shaped flowers that also fill the air with heady perfume.

As an avid climber, the clematis armandii does an excellent job covering unsightly structures, fences and poles.  Reaching out with tendrils to grasp onto any type of support, the vine wraps around the support and holds securely.  Because the clematis enjoys a partly shady environment, it will do extremely well planted near trees and bushes on which it can climb.  

Growing c. armandii

These and more joys will be experienced by the gardener who decides to add c. armandii to their temperate climate garden.  The flowering vine can be quite easy to grow when provided the proper environment.  Choosing the ideal site for planting the vine is the first step, and can be a tricky one.  While the leaves and flowers benefit from some sun exposure, the roots must be kept cool and moist.   Locating an area that offers both shade and sun may be difficult; keep in mind that it is the heat of the midday sun that will prove to be damaging.  The second step will be to decide if you wish the clematis to climb or to “crawl” across the surface of the ground.  Since the vine can reach heights of up to 20 feet, if providing a support for climbing it will be necessary to take this height into consideration.  Fences and trellising can be reinforced with additional supports to allow for the weight of the vine.  Pergolas are the perfect choice for the c. armandii to climb upon, as are outdoor structures such as garages, gardening sheds and the like.

Once the clematis is planted, the plant should be mulched well to keep the soil moist and the roots cool.  An attractive alternative or addition to this is to plant some low growing shrubs around the base of the plant to shade the roots while providing extra visual appeal. The vine should be fertilized on a yearly basis during the establishment of the plant, which could take one or two seasons.  Afterward becoming established, no further fertilization will likely be required.  Pruning the clematis armandii yearly is recommended to ensure maximum bloom.

Those who live and garden in temperate climates will find the c. armandii to be a delightful addition to their landscape.  Adding lovely color, visual interest and fragrant scent, this flowering vine will truly be the answer to a gardener’s dream of a perfect climbing vine.