Niobe clematis care and pruning

Clematis ‘Niobe’ care and pruning

Categories: red clematis varieties, 2 pruning group, large-flowered, winter-hardy

The clematis variety ‘Niobe’ was obtained by Polish clematis breeder Wladyslaw Noll, probably in 1970. It was introduced in 1975. The variety is named in honor of a character from Greek mythology Niobe. She was human and had some conflicts with the goddess Leta, who gave birth to Apollo and Artemis. Apollo and Artemis killed all of Niobe’s children, and she herself eventually turned to stone. That’s such a nice legend, that’s such a nice flower.

Clematis Niobe

Table of Contents


Group Early large-flowered clematis
Pruning Group 2 (weak pruning)
Height 2,5…3 meters
Flowers large, simple, с 4-8 sepals
Flower color dark red
Blooming time 1st – June-July, 2st – from August until the cold weather
USDA Zones 4-9


Clematis ‘Niobe’ forms stems up to 3 m high. The growth rate of this clematis is relatively slow, it grows quite slowly, especially in the first years. The length of internodes is usually 18…20 cm. Leaves up to the 9th node of the vegetative part are triple-veined, with simple entire leaflets, not distinguished by anything special. Leaf length 17…21 cm, including leaf petiole length up to 7 cm, leaf width up to 17 cm. Leaflets are acuminate-ovate with a pointed tip, up to 7 cm long and 3.5 cm wide.

‘Niobe’ clematis blooms first on the previous year’s shoots and then on the current year’s shoots. Flowering on last year’s shoots starts in June and continues until July. Then, in late July or early August, the clematis starts to bloom on the current year’s shoots and can bloom until the end of September. The flowers are simple, large, with a flower diameter of 10 to 15 cm. Sepals from 4 to 8, most often 6. Length of sepals from 5 to 8.5 cm, width of sepals: from 3 to 4 cm. Sepals have a pointed-elliptical shape with a wavy edge and several folds along the midline. The coloration of the sepals is dark red, almost black at budding. It is slightly darker at the base of the sepal. The stamens are yellow, the anthers slightly lighter. In general, the flower looks very expressive. Clematis ‘Niobe’ is extremely decorative and, given that it can be grown according to the rules of 3 pruning groups, it is worth having it in your garden.


Clematis ‘Niobe’ Planting and Care

Niobe clematis is relatively unpretentious and winters well in most US states as far north as Michigan and the Dakotas. As a rule, its shoots survive the winter under snow with nominal shelter. It blooms relatively early. In general, it is a good clematis.

When to plant clematis ‘Niobe’?

The best time to plant clematis ‘Niobe’ in the open ground is late August or early fall. You can also plant it in the spring before it starts to grow vigorously. It is likely to grow rather weakly in the first year, but will rehabilitate later. If you bought a clematis in the summer, you can not plant it, but transfer it from the pot, keeping the lump. In this case, it will develop a little slower, but it will not suffer either.

Selecting a location for planting clematis

Palnting hole for clematis Niobe
The planting hole for ‘Niobe’ clematis should be large enough

Like any other large-flowered clematis, Niobe clematis prefers loose, highly fertile, well-cultivated soil and a well-lit site protected from strong winds. This clematis hardly burns out in the sun, except in southern regions, so it is quite possible to plant it in areas with direct sunlight, which is so illuminated throughout the day. Exposure does not matter, although it does grow a little worse against a north wall. Of course, this is true for the northern states of the USA, as well as some northern European countries. In southern states, overheating and too scorching sun will be a bigger problem. Therefore, in such places, planting near the south wall should be avoided, and planting clematis near the north wall is a good solution.

Preparing the planting hole

The planting hole should be large enough, preferably about half a meter in diameter and also about half a meter deep. The pit should be filled with a mixture of extracted soil with the addition of humus or compost, as well as some potassium sulfate and superphosphate. For such a pit, 25-30 grams will be enough.

Peculiarities of planting clematis Niobe

If the clematis has a woody part of the stem at the bottom, it can be buried by one or two buds. If it is a young clematis with green stems, it should not be buried because of the high probability of wilt development. Water the clematis after planting.

How to care clematis for Niobe

Care for clematis ‘Niobe’ has no peculiarities; it should be cared for in the same way as any large-flowered clematis. It should be watered infrequently but abundantly, especially in severe, prolonged drought. In the first year after planting it is not necessary to feed it, because everything necessary for development is in the planting pit, in the very beginning of vegetation can be introduced only a little nitrogen – about 5 grams of active substance. In subsequent years it is recommended to feed 3 or 4 times according to the scheme:

  • 1st fertilization is an organic and mineral fertilizer with a predominance of nitrogen at the beginning of vegetation for young clematis about 5 grams of nitrogen, 3 grams of phosphorus and 3 grams of potassium per plant, for adult clematis “Niobe” – 10 grams of nitrogen, 5 grams of phosphorus and 5 grams of potassium per plant.
  • 2nd fertilization – at the beginning of budding on the adult plant about 5 grams of nitrogen, 5 grams of phosphorus and 5 grams of potassium.
  • 3rd fertilization – approximately in mid-July also 5 grams of nitrogen, 5 grams of phosphorus and 5 grams of potassium.
  • 4th fertilization – in August you can apply a few grams of phosphorus and potassium each.

This scheme is adapted to US states with relatively long and cold winters, roughly from Oregon to Michigan. In the southern states of the USA, the growing season of clematis has a different duration: therefore the fertilizing scheme must be adapted to the conditions in these areas.

How to prune clematis ‘Niobe’, pruning group

Clematis ‘Niobe’ is a typical clematis of pruning group 2. Therefore, the current year’s shoots should be cut back to a height of about 80 or 100 cm above a pair of strong buds. These retained shoots should be carefully placed on the ground, pinned and covered. You can also cut it short according to the rules of pruning group 3, in which case it will flower about a month later, but it makes no difference.

Protecting clematis from wilt

To prevent the development of wilt, keep the soil reaction moderately slightly alkaline by using dolomite flour or lime milk. If symptoms appear, the soil in the root zone of the clematis can be drenched with Previcur or Fundazol. You can also sprinkle the soil around the stem with a mixture of sand and ash.

Clematis ‘Niobe’ Reviews

  • Michigan, near Detroit: I really like the rich dark red color of clematis ‘Niobe’. and it overwinters well under cover;
  • Minnesota: the author of the review cut the clematis short, after which the clematis blooms almost in August;
  • Portland, Oregon: Clematis ‘Niobe’ starts blooming around June, requires regular fertilizing, but blooms very well;
  • South Dakota: clematis ‘Niobe’ overwinters but needs to be covered;
  • Northern California: clematis overwinters without shelter, blooms in mid-May.

If you too have grown this clematis, please leave your feedback. It can be very useful to other readers in the comments to the article.

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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