Dawn Clematis

Clematis ‘Dawn’

Categories: white clematis, 2 pruning group, large-flowered

The clematis ‘Dawn’ variety was obtained by the rather famous Swedish breeder Tage Landell by crossing the clematis ‘Nellie Moser’ with either ‘Miss Bateman’ or ‘Moonlight’. Landell originally named it ‘Aurora’ but to avoid confusion with ‘Aurora’ clematis, which was obtained by Charles Noble in 1877, Landell renamed his variety. Dawn was registered in 1960 and introduced in 1969.

Table of Contents


Group Early large-flowered clematis
Pruning Group 2 (light prune)
Height 7…10 ft (2,5…3m)
Flower size about 4″…6″ (10…15 cm)
Flower coloration white with a faint pink tint
Flowering May-June, Avg-Oct
USDA hardiness zones 4-9


Clematis ‘Dawn’ most often grows to a height of about 2, sometimes up to 3 m, the shoot-forming ability is medium. The leaves are most often triple-veined, dark green with rather pronounced veining. Leaf petioles are sometimes reddish; nothing else significant can be said about them.

Clematis ‘Dawn’ blooms first on last year’s shoots from May to the end of June, and then again on the current year’s shoots from August to October. Flowers are large, simple, up to 15 cm in diameter, with 6-8 sepals of elliptical or oval shape. The sepal is often expanded in front and has a slightly pointed tip. The midline is pronounced; it is darker and has three folds.

The coloration of the sepal is off-white and cream along the margin and light pink along the midline, sometimes a light pink band with a greenish tint. Near the base of the sepal may also have a creamy greenish tint. The flowers are extremely prone to burnout, so clematis ‘Dawn’ is usually preferred to be grown in semi-shade. Stamen filaments greenish-white, anthers purplish-red.


Clematis ‘Dawn’ planting and care

If you plan to plant clematis ‘Dawn’ in a region with hot summers and almost no winters, be prepared for it to burn out in the sun. In such conditions, it will require planting near a north wall in a place where it will be well shaded during the midday hours. Otherwise, you risk not seeing the full beautiful blooms of this clematis. These rules apply to USDA zones 9 and 10.

If you plan to grow it in a region with cold winters, in a place like Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota or Wisconsin, as well as Canada, you should, if possible, plant it so that it is well-lit throughout the day, protected from the wind, but slightly covered from the sun during the hot afternoon hours.

In addition, you should be sure to keep it well covered and pruned in a timely manner. In most parts of Canada, this clematis will probably not grow and bloom well at all.

Light, highly fertile soils with a high humus content are best for planting clematis. These are either bound loam or light loams.

When to plant clematis ‘Dawn’?

Clematis are best planted when the soil has warmed to a temperature of 68°F in the spring or cooled to that temperature in the fall. Planting earlier does not allow clematis to form a strong enough root system because the roots are just cold and the air can be well warmed. Planting in hotter weather also causes the above ground part of the clematis to develop better than the underground part. This also depletes the plant somewhat. In addition, if you plant clematis in summer, you run the risk of damaging its roots or shoots.

Preparation and planting of clematis

planting hole for clematis Dawn
The clematis planting pit should be large – like this. This is the north side of a small shed. Here the clematis ‘Dawn’ will grow in the shade. This will protect the flowers from burning out.

The hole for the clematis ‘Dawn’ should be large enough, about 50 cm across and the same depth. You should use the soil you have removed from the hole to fill it. Mix it with compost or humus in a ratio of 1:1. There you should also add about 20…30 grams of superphosphate (it does not matter double or simple, because it will be distributed over a very large volume) and 20…30 grams of potassium sulfate

If you have purchased a plant with a woody underside, it can be buried by one, two or three buds to get branching from the very bottom. If you have bought a young annual plant and it does not have a woody underside, it should not be buried.

Before planting, clean the roots from the soil and inspect them: it is better to cut off damaged roots immediately and cover the cuts with charcoal or ash. You should also pour a mixture of sand and ash over the entire root system and the lower part of the stem, including the growing point. This will create a barrier to pathogenic fungi that will protect your clematis from wilt for a while.

After planting, the clematis should be thoroughly watered abundantly and the soil tamped down so that there is no air between the soil and the roots.

Caring for clematis ‘Dawn’ after planting


Clematis are fairly drought tolerant, but should be watered in very dry, hot weather. Water infrequently but abundantly, pouring about 10 liters of water at once under mature plants and about 5 liters of water under young plants.

Mulching the soil

It is extremely useful to mulch the soil with grass clippings, hay or straw. Mulch prevents overheating of the soil and excessive evaporation of moisture. It serves as an additional source of organic matter for the soil and also slightly suppresses weed growth. Make sure that the mulch does not adhere to the stem itself, especially if you mulch the soil with freshly cut grass.

Fertilizing clematis

In the first year after planting, you can either not feed the clematis at all or feed it with a small dose of nitrogen fertilizer, which is applied at planting. If you plant clematis in the summer, or about a week after planting in the form of a solution, the dosage of nitrogen should be small – enough 5 g. This is necessary for the clematis to quickly grow green mass, which will allow him, in turn, to form a good root system. Starting from the second year after planting, clematis ‘Dawn’ should be fed according to the following scheme:

The first feeding is done at the beginning of the growing season, usually late April or May. In this feeding you apply organic fertilizer such as compost or humus, as well as a complete mineral fertilizer, which should include about 10 grams of nitrogen, 5 grams of phosphorus and 5 grams of potassium for an adult clematis. For a young clematis, you need about half as much. It is also very good if in the first feeding clematis will receive a complex of macro- and microelements.

In the second feeding it is necessary to bring 5 g of nitrogen, 10 g of phosphorus and 10 g of potassium. This feeding is carried out at the beginning of budding.

The third feeding, with approximately the same dosage as the second, is carried out about 3 weeks after the second feeding.

In the fourth feeding, you should add 5 grams of phosphorus and 5 grams of potassium, as well as trace elements. This is necessary for the plant to better prepare for winterization.

Pruning clematis ‘Dawn’

‘Dawn’ is a typical clematis of pruning group 2. This means that in the fall after flowering, you need to cut it back to a height of about 120 cm above the large buds that are clearly visible on the shoot. It is these buds that will eventually give flowers. The next year, you can also cut it in stages: part of the shoots at a height of 120 cm, part of the shoots at a height of 100 cm, part of the shoots at a height of 80 cm. In this case, flowering on the shoots of the previous year will be more extended.

After pruning clematis should be carefully covered. If you are in a region with cold winters, such as the Moscow region, it is better to build an air-dry shelter with a vent and mandatory protection from rain. If you are in a warm enough region, it is often enough to pour a bucket of dry peat at the base of the bush and then cover the entire structure with a couple of layers of spunbond and something waterproof on top. In addition, it is always necessary to leave a ventilation hole for the clematis.

Clematis diseases

The main danger to clematis is wilt. Clematis wilt is caused by pathogenic fungi that enter through damage in the roots or stems, or even just young roots and stems, and travel through the vascular system. The fungus fills the vascular system, causing it to clog and stop conducting water. The entire shoot withers and dies. Sometimes this happens in a matter of hours. There is nothing that can be done about it. Such a shoot should be cut off.

To prevent wilt, you can maintain an alkaline environment in the soil, using physiologically alkaline fertilizers, as well as watering the soil around the clematis with lime milk (50 grams of lime per 10 liters of water). You can also cover the soil surface around the plant with a mixture of sand and ash. This protects clematis to some extent, but does not give absolute protection. Other diseases do not usually pose much of a threat to clematis, although they may slightly impair the appearance of the leaves.


  • Oregon, near Portland: ‘Dawn’ is a great clematis, but it is quite late blooming in spring and should definitely be covered. If you want to save the big shoots from last year, cover. If you don’t save the shoots from last year, it will bloom late and weakly.
  • South Carolina: clematis ‘Dawn’ burns very easily in full sun, so it should only be planted on the south side of a wall. On the north side of the wall, I planted it on the south side and it almost completely burned. One summer the flowers turned to white rags almost immediately, I had to move it to the backyard on the other side, and then the clematis started doing much better.
  • Canada, near Toronto:Clematis of the ‘Dawn’ variety is extremely capricious, requiring me to carefully cover every year to get any blooms at all. Frankly, I have clematis in my garden that are better suited to climates like Canada’s.
  • UK, western regions: An excellent clematis with extremely delicate blooms. Grows in the garden for about 10 years, not sheltered, grows next to the rose, pruning is long.

If you have also grown clematis variety ‘Dawn’, please write your feedback in the comments to the article and indicate where exactly it grows in your garden. Such information will be extremely useful to other gardeners.

About the author

Fedor Fironov
Graduate of Plant Protection Faculty at GSAU. Main area of interest – clematis, peonies and perennials of Lamiaceae .

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