Clematis paniculata is the best-known native clematis species. An aggressive woody, evergreen climber that is endemic to New Zealand and has naturalised on Chatham Island. Found from coastal to montane shrublands and tall forests. Prefers to be planted a permanently damp but not sopping soil, in a situation where it can grow up into the sun. Its rootstock should never be allowed to dry out. In humid climates prone to powdery mildew.
The showy star-shaped white flowers of Clematis paniculata appear from July to November. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants. Followed by masses of attractive feathery seed heads. A highly decorative plant useful for covering walls and fences, clematis can also be trained over other plants. Can be difficult to establish. It needs a cool root run and rich permanently moist but not sodden soil. Should be planted in a situation where it can grow up into the sun. Let it scramble through other trees and shrubs to get to the light, but make sure its base is in the shade. This clematis will tolerate exposed conditions, but leaves will be smaller and thicker. Climbing plants require similar types of maintenance as trees and shrubs. The first summer and autumn after planting are critical for young plants, so water thoroughly during dry periods. Mulching helps conserve moisture and suppress weeds. Be sure to keep deep mulch away from plant stems.
Most plants sold by garden centres are male, as the male flowers are usually larger and are showier. At Wai-Ora, we grow all of our clematis from seed so the sex of the plant is unknown for a few years after planting, however, both sexes produce flowers. Clematis is easily grown from seed. It can also be grown by taking cuttings, but these can be fickle and slow to strike. Frost hardy, dioecious. To 5m – height, Spreads to 2m.
For more excellent photos of Clematis paniculata at its various stages of growth, click here to see Phil Bendle’s blog.