A Few Brief Notes About Clematis Armandii
The Clematis armandii, or the Armand clematis, is an evergreen clematis. As such, it is popular in cooler climates like the Northern California coast or the Pacific Northwest, where broad leaf plants are not often seen during the winter months. It is also popular in warmer climates, especially in the southeastern United States. Clematis armandii is a fairly hardy plant, one that grows rapidly, and unless periodically pruned back, a plant that will reach heights of 20 feet or more. In its native China, it often grows on trees. Clematis armandii blooms in the early spring, in late February or March, and may continue to bloom sporadically throughout the summer months. In warm climates, blooms sometimes first appear in late winter. The blossoms of this clematis are white, somewhat saucer-shaped, and very fragrant.
One can either support a clematis armandii vine on an arbor, a trellis, along wires, or simply let it go its own way through shrubs, bushes, and into trees. Given enough time, this clematis can act as an effective screen, though a dense screen is usually more achievable in warmer climates, as the plants grow more rapidly, and the foliage is apt to cover wider areas. When grown as a shrub, this clematis will have a width of between 6 and 10 feet, wider than a typical clematis plant. Clematis armandii prefers partial sun, but can be grown in full sun in cooler climates. In areas like Florida, it definitely needs to be planted where it will get mid-day shade. Like other varieties of clematis, especially the more widely known deciduous hybrid varieties, clematis armandii insists that its roots be kept shaded and preferably cool. Although not classified as drought tolerant, the plant usually holds up fairly well during dry conditions, and is in general a more rugged plant than its deciduous cousins.
If you do allow this plant to climb tall trees, be aware of the fact that the vines will more often than not move to other trees if the branches touch or nearly touch. Also, if you allow the vines to climb high, you need to also be aware of the fact that most of the blooming is apt to occur near the top of the vine, at treetop level, rather than near the ground.
When planting clematis armandii as a landscape plant, it’s advisable to think a little ahead. The most common mistake made when planting, is giving the clematis too low or small an area to climb on, whether it is to climb on a fence or on a tree. The vine can easily overpower a small tree or a lamppost. While the tree may not be in any particular danger, the overall appearance can sometimes be a little ridiculous, and a lamppost that has been overwhelmed by vines is not terribly attractive looking. Clematis armandii is constantly searching for something to climb on, and may at times find something you would prefer left alone. In most instances, however, it is quite a charming plant to look at.
Although it is an evergreen, leaves do dry and drop off, mostly during the summer months. If the clematis is planted where it does not get enough protection from freezing weather, some or all of the leaves may turn black, The plant may survive, with new foliage replacing the old, but the black leaves will tend to stay on the vines. This can prove to be unsightly unless or until they are removed. A hard frost in early spring can also harm the flower buds, and that the vine may not blossom that year. Clematis armandii is known to be quite resistant to pests and disease, but it can at times be vulnerable to unseasonable frosts or lengthy freezing spells.
Propagation And Mulching
Clematis armandii can be propagated by several methods. It can be propagated by root division, or by layering the vines during the winter months and separating the new plants from the parent plant in the spring. The plant can also be propagated by softwood cuttings in the spring and early summer.
It was mentioned earlier that this clematis does not like to have its roots exposed to the sun. Since the roots grow close to the surface, this may necessitate putting mulch around the base, or even placing a few flat rocks around the base. Flat rocks are ideal as they will not cause root rot at the base of the plant as some mulches might do. Composted manure or compost makes the best mulch, and the clematis will benefit from monthly feedings during its active growing season.
In summary, Clematis armandii is a relatively hardy plant that does not need the same degree of attention most other clematis plants require. It can be allowed to roam free, it can be pruned as a screen, or pruned to keep its height at a certain level, or simply pruned to keep it from climbing onto every tree or shrub it can reach. It is a very attractive vine, whether in bloom or not. When in bloom, its blossoms are both beautiful and fragrant.