Plant pick: Etoile Violette clematis

  • Wednesday, August 5, 2009 9:51pm
  • Life

WHAT: Etoile Violette clematis makes a statement with its dark purple flowers, produced in profusion in midsummer. Immediately after the first flush of 3-inch diameter flowers, the plant can be sheared back to produce a second late-summer show of blooms.

WHY PLANT IT: Etoile Violette, French for star violet, produces fewer stems and is more open in its growth habit than other varieties, making it suitable for growing through large shrubs and small trees. Unlike more vigorous varieties, it does not usually smother its supports.

WHERE: It grows best in full sun, in fertile, rich, well-drained soil. Plant the lowest few inches of the vine below the soil surface. Remove the bottom leaves and fill in the depression with good soil to protect lower buds. This allows the plant to resprout from those bud if the top shoots suffer in the unlikely event of clematis wilt.

HOW: Mulch the soil in early spring and add a handful of dolomite lime to the soil in fall. Water weekly if there is no rain in summer for the first two summers. After that, Etoile Violette requires water about every other week during summer months without rain.

ACTUAL SIZE: This deciduous, twining, woody vine, blooms on new growth. If you wish to reduce its overall size, cut it back in March just above a healthy pair of buds, about 18 inches above the ground. This will allow for vines up to 12 feet long. Unpruned it will reach about 20 feet.

LEARN MORE: See www.greatplantpicks.com.

Source: Great Plant Picks

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