You Garden’s plant of the month for April is the Clematis ‘Taiga’
Launched at the 2017 Chelsea Flower Show, this superb clematis was the most admired plant by visitors.
The fully double blooms have the appearance of cactus dahlias and can measure to 4 inches across. The eye-catching petals are a beautiful blue-purple tone. Each petal is delicately tipped with a lime-cream splash. Opening slowly they give a spiky effect to the flowers which develop into gloriously exotic rosettes. Early to bloom, the Clematis ‘Taiga’ will flower all summer long.
This clematis is a real statement plant for the garden. Uniquely unusual, it is sure to be a talking point with your neighbours and friends. It’s the ideal plant to grow in a large container or in pride of place in the border. It will effortlessly scramble up a trellis or pergola, hiding any unsightly walls or fences.
‘Taiga’ is very easy to care for and pruning is simple. Just cut each stem back to about 30cm in spring just above a pair of buds. This encourages the new growth on which the wonderful flowers are borne. Like most clematis, it thrives in a sunny spot and will do best if roots are shaded by lower growing plants.
Top Tip For Clematis –
Clematis plants like a cool ‘root run’ so try and position your plant so that the roots are in the shade. If you are planting in a sunny position, place some pieces of slate or flat stones on the soil after planting or use groundcover plants to keep the roots cool.
Care Guide For Clematis –
Planting your Clematis:
- If planting by a wall or fence – the hole should be dug approx. 30cm (12in) away from its base.
- If planting by a tree – plant about 2 feet (60cm) away from the trunk leaning the cane of the clematis towards the support.
- Dig a planting hole 3 x wider than the roots of the shrub you’re planting and mix some well-rotted compost or manure with the soil from the hole and use this to re-fill once the clematis is in place.
- Before planting soak container-grown shrubs thoroughly and allow them to drain.
- Remove the plant from its pot and tease out a few of the roots.
- Add mycorrhizal fungi to the roots when planting to help plants establish quicker.
- Plant with the crown of the plant 5-8cm deep to encourage new shoots to grow from below ground level.
- Refill the hole with the earth removed (backfilling), then firm in the soil with your heel, avoiding the root ball and water them in well.
Aftercare Advice For Your Clematis:
- Feed-in spring with a general-purpose feed, avoiding the stems. Mulch immediately afterwards with organic matter such as well-rotted manure, leaf mould or garden compost.
- Water regularly during periods of dry weather in the first few seasons after planting, especially for container plants.
- Give potted clematis a liquid feed through the summer and early autumn.
Pruning Your Clematis:
- The Clematis ‘Taiga’ flowers in late summer on growth made that season. Therefore, pruned your ‘Taiga’ in either late winter or early spring. Simply cut them back to just above a strong pair of leaf buds about 30cm (1ft) above soil level.