Photo by Jessica Walliser
Clematis tangutica grows in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 11 and has several different cultivars.
Do you think Santa might bring you a new arbor or trellis or pergola for Christmas? Well, if he does, I’ve got the plant for you! I recently discovered a vine that I am utterly smitten with, and the more I learn about it, the more I want to sing its praises.
I love clematis. I have always loved clematis and I have always recommended them as terrific choices for sprucing up vertical spaces. But so many of them are slow pokes, and you have to think so darned hard about pruning them. That’s why I love the sweet autumn clematis. Unlike some other choices, it grows quickly, bears creamy, fragrant flowers late in the season, and is very easy to grow and prune. But after many years as my personal favorite, it is time for sweet autumn to move over. Now there is a new chart topper on my list of favorite clematis: Clematis tangutica.
This beautiful yellow clematis completely knocks my socks off every time I see it. It is a late-summer/fall bloomer with balloon-like yellow buds that explode into four-petaled, 2- to 3-inch-wide, yellow umbrellas with fuzzy, purple stamens. Then, when it is finished flowering, it has sweet, little fuzzball seed heads. The bees love the flowers, and the clematis will grow anywhere that receives at least 6 hours of sun per day (though, like all clematis, C. tangutica prefers to have her feet in the shade).
This clematis variety is a quick grower, reaching 15 to 20 feet tall in a single season, and is easy to propagate from seeds and/or stem cuttings. There are many different cultivars of this lovely vine, each with its own merits. Bill MacKenzie reaches an easy 20 feet tall, while Helios is a shorter cultivar that tops out at 6 feet in height. Golden Tiara blooms a bit later than the rest, and Golden Harvest is easy to find in the nursery trade. No matter which cultivar you get your hands on, you won’t be disappointed. This is a great plant, hardy from USDA zones 5 to 11, that deserves a treasured place on your farm.