Support for Clematis

Clematis Trellis & Support Ideas

Most clematis are climbing plants, and clematis do not have any special adaptations for holding. They cling with their leaf petioles, wrapping around any support in several turns and so are held on any natural supports: on bushes, on tree branches, on some tall herbaceous plants. The stems are rarely completely smooth, and clematis are well adapted to natural supports, but quite poorly held on a smooth support without any protrusions and roughness. Therefore, if you plan to buy a clematis support made of smooth, painted or plastic-coated metal, it is not the best option – the stems are likely to slip. The best support material is wood, not too polished, but only roughly sanded.

Clematis trellis

Wooden clematis supports are sometimes found in stores and come in different designs, but most often they are lattice-shaped. The best option is a lattice with a mesh of such a size that your hand can easily pass through it: you will almost certainly be removing clematis from such a support in the fall, and if the lattice is too frequent, it will be extremely uncomfortable for you.

It is also important that the lattice can be fixed from below on the ground, for example with pegs. It is best if the wooden lattice has a metal and painted lower part and a wooden upper part. In addition, the support can rest on something moisture-resistant, such as some stone or ceramic structures.

When is a fixed support for clematis impractical?

In some cases, it is not advisable to create a permanent support. This may be because the clematis is not yet established and it is not clear what it will look like, or it can be transplanted at any time. In addition, sometimes clematis are planted near the wall of a house or shed, and then the support is simply inconvenient to mount. In such cases the clematis can be tied on a rope.

Old authors of books on clematis recommend capron ropes, but I don’t quite like them. Capron ropes are strong enough and clematis can cling to them quite well, but they have three disadvantages:

  1. Lately, kapron ropes have become very poor quality: they started to tear after a year of use or even less.
  2. Synthetic fiber is stiff and in strong winds can injure green shoots and leaves, which is undesirable.
  3. As a rule, clematis are removed from their supports in the fall, cut, stacked and covered. In this case, it is not clear what to do with the kapron ropes: whether to cut them off and throw them away, or to leave them for the next year. If they tear, their pieces contaminate the soil, which is not very pleasant.

Jute rope for gartering clematis

Taking into account all these disadvantages, I recommend tying clematis with linen or jute ropes. This is such a yellow-gray rope, which are sold in large spools in stores for gardeners, they cost relatively inexpensive. Linen rope is quite strong and easy to work with, it is rough, and therefore clematis on it more or less held. But most importantly, if you remove the clematis and leave the rope on the ground, it will almost completely rot over the winter.

To make it easier for the clematis to get a grip on the linen rope support, you can make a very simple construction. From above, the linen rope is tied to some element of the roof or wall, and from below a wooden or plastic peg is hammered in and the rope is tied in tension. In addition, it is worth making a few small loops in the middle, which will make it easier to hold the clematis. The rest is simple. You just take the stem of the clematis and wrap it several times around the tensioned rope, if necessary fix it with some more tape or loops so that it is less likely to
dangling, and literally within a few days the clematis leaves will wrap themselves around the rope. This is a fairly sturdy construction and has proven itself even in strong winds.

Plastic supports for clematis

Plastic supports for clematis, in my opinion, should not be used, and it’s not that I am prejudiced against plastic, it is a wonderful material. Simply plastic supports for clematis are almost always smooth, and in strong winds clematis from them slip and are injured, and then at the fracture sites in the stems can penetrate pathogenic fungi. If you have a plastic support, you have to spend time and effort to create some additional holding elements: loops, ribbons, special clothespins and so on. All this complicates the work. Therefore, a wooden support for clematis, unpainted and slightly rough, is much preferable.

Photos and ideas for clematis supports and trellis

Below I have presented a few photos of clematis supports from the internet and some ideas of how to place clematis on the supports that I liked. I also show you a few photos of my clematis on ordinary linen ropes. These are, in particular, the clematis Comtesse de Buchaud and also Ville de Lyon.

Clematis Comtesse de Buchaud on a rope

Clematis Ville de Lyon on a support


Опора для клематиса

Идеи опор для клематисов своими руками

Clematis arch

Arch for Clematis

In stores you can often find wooden and metal arches for clematis, which allow you to create wonderful decorative structures. However, you should realize that the arch structure takes up a lot of space. In addition, to make it look really beautiful, you must have strong developed clematis plants of sufficient height and density, which is usually achieved 5-8 years after planting. Younger plants on the arches just look pathetic.

Finally, it is important to understand that in the fall it will be quite inconvenient for you to remove the clematis from the arch. Depending on which pruning group the plant belongs to, you will either have to cut it and untangle it, or untangle it without cutting it.

Clematis stands

Stands for clematis
You can also find small stands for clematis on different legs, which are installed for young plants. I do not recommend such stands because they are usually very weak and are often either blown away by the wind or carelessly caught by someone’s foot.

Clematis netting

Clematis netting
Sometimes you can also find flexible clematis nets made of different materials on sale. These are not only for clematis, but also for any climbing plants: roses, honeysuckle and so on. In general, the net is not a bad option, but in the fall it can be difficult to disentangle a powerful developed clematis from it. In addition, the net has a frequent mesh, which can make it difficult to distribute clematis shoots so that they do not intertwine with each other.

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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