Clematis in Containers

Compact varieties bring these beauties up close

Fujimusume clematis.jpg Compact Fujimusume clematis is perfect for growing in patio planters.

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!

Tips for Success with Container Clematis

  • Choose a planter that's at least 18" in diameter
  • Make sure the pot can drain freely
  • Select a support with uprights or rings no larger than 1/2" dia. (so plant can grasp onto them)
  • Insert the support at planting time
  • Place the plant in full sun
  • Clematis like their roots to stay cool, so place smaller pots of herbs or annuals around the planter to shade it
  • If necessary, anchor the planter to a railing or similar structure to prevent toppling

Shop for Trellises and Obelisks

Nocturne ObeliskThe Nocturne Pot Obelisk and Mazzzano Self-Watering Planter combination is perfect for compact clematis.

cezanne clematis


Abundant sky-blue flowers with contrasting white stamens cover the 3' to 4' vines.clematis fleuri


Early-blooming variety has richly colored flowers on 4' high vines.edda clematis


A charming 3' to 4' climber with blooms that open purple and mature to a pretty lavender-blue.fujimusume clematis


Clear blue blooms up to 7" across grow on vines 6' to 8' high.

Compact Clematis Varieties
clematis countess of wessex

Countess of Wessex™

Very pale pink to white flowers bloom freely on on 3' to 4' vines.

Overwintering Container Clematis

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.

Related Article: How to Grow Clematis


Last updated: 12/27/2022