Clematis Vines For Spring – Types Of Spring Flowering Clematis

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Tough and easy to grow, spectacular spring blooming clematis is native to the extreme climates of northeastern China and Siberia. This durable plant survives temperatures in punishing climates as low as USDA plant hardiness zone 3.

Clematis Vines for Spring

Spring blooming clematis usually blooms in mid-spring in most climates, but if you live in a mild climate, you’ll probably see blooms in late winter. As an added benefit, even the spent blooms of spring blooming clematis add beauty to the garden with attractive, silvery, fluffy seed heads that last throughout autumn.

If you’re in the market for clematis, it’s helpful to know that spring blooming varieties fall into two main species: Clematis alpina, also known as Austrian clematis, and Clematis macropetala, sometimes referred to as Downy clematis. Each includes several irresistible, cold-hardy choices.

Clematis Alpina

Clematis alpina is a deciduous vine with lacy, pale green leaves; droopy, bell-shaped blooms and creamy white stamens. If you’re looking for white flowers, consider ‘Burford White.’ Gorgeous clematis varieties in the blue family, which produce blue, sky blue and pale blue flowers, include:

  • ‘Pamela Jackman’
  • ‘Frances Rivis’
  • ‘Frankie’

Additional types of spring flowering clematis include:

  • ‘Constance,’ a cultivar that provides stunning reddish-pink flowers
  • ‘Ruby’ produces blooms in a lovely shade of rose-pink
  • ‘Willy’ is favored for its pale pink, white-centered blooms

Clematis Macropetala

While Clematis alpina blooms are lovely in their simplicity, Clematis macropetala plants boast feathery leaves and masses of ornate, bell-shaped, double blooms that resemble a dancer’s frilly tutu. For example, clematis vines for spring in the Macropetala grouping include:

  • ‘Maidenwell Hall,’ which produces semi-double, bluish-lavender blooms
  • ‘Jan Linkmark’ offers rich, violet-purple blooms
  • If your color scheme includes pink, you can’t go wrong with ‘Markham’s Pink,’ notable for its semi-double pink blooms. ‘Rosy O’Grady’ is a subtle pinkish mauve with rosy outer petals.
  • Try ‘White Swan’ or ‘White Wings’ if you’re in the market for handsome, semi-double blooms in creamy white.

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