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I've been gardening and writing about gardening for more than 20 years, yet I find I'm always learning new things about the plants, insects and other critters that call my backyard home. That's the great thing about gardening — it's never boring! I've worked as a landscaper, on an organic farm, as a research technician in a plant pathology lab and ran a small cut-flower business, all of which inform my garden writing. Someone once asked me when I'll be finished with my gardens, to which I replied, "Never!" For me, gardening is a process, not a goal.
Bring the “queen of climbers” to your patio, balcony, or deck by growing compact varieties in planters. Many clematis varieties can reach 10' to 20' tall; in contrast, the compact beauties shown below top out at 4' to 8'. You won't be compromising on flowers, either — they still boast abundant blooms up to 7" across. And they're magnets for hummingbirds, too!
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Most clematis are hardy in zones 4-9. However, when growing plants in containers, you'll need to subtract two zones. In other words, a clematis that's rated hardy to zone 4 is only hardy to zone 6 if it's growing in a container. That's because the soil mass in a container is relatively small and the soil will freeze through more readily than the soil around in-ground plants. Also, alternating freeze/thaw cycles can heave plants out the soil and damage roots.
As cold weather approaches, move the container to a sheltered location. You can put it in an unheated garage, or tuck it up close to a building away from wind and winter sun. The goal is to keep the plant in its dormant phase, so avoid warm spots that could trigger it to start growing. Surround the pot with insulation, such as straw or a special plant wrap is helpful.
Last updated: 6/27/19
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