This vine features bright lemon-yellow nodding blooms that hang from dark purple stems. (Richie Steffen)

This vine features bright lemon-yellow nodding blooms that hang from dark purple stems. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: Clematis chiisanensis ‘Lemon Bells’

This vine features bright lemon-yellow nodding blooms that hang from dark purple stems.

What: Clematis chiisanensis “Lemon Bells,” introduced by the University of British Columbia, features bright lemon-yellow nodding blooms hanging from dark purple stems. Each dangling flower has a distinctive red blush at the base of the petals. A robust but not rampant grower, it will continue to produce sporadic flowers on the new growth through the summer. Its open growing habit makes it a suitable vine to grow through large shrubs and small trees without smothering the woody host. Once the flowering is finished, attractive fluffy seed heads dangle along the vine through the end of summer.

Where: This clematis will grow best in full sun to light shade. Provide a location with rich well-drained soil where it can be regularly watered during dry weather. Plant vines that are well-rooted and at least two years old. In our climate, planting too deeply can smother the roots, especially in heavy soils. Set young plants at the same depth they were in their nursery pots.

Size: Yellow bell clematis will grow to be 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide when mature.

Care: Clematis are heavy feeders and appreciate fertilizing in spring. This clematis blooms on old stems and on new growth, so it is best to only prune lightly in late spring to early summer, once the first flush of flowers have finished. Remove congested or tangled growth and thin to the strongest stems. Well established, overgrown plants can be cut back to 12 inches tall in winter to remove large tangles. This allows robust new stems to fill out the plant, but it will not flower the next year.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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