How to grow Clematis tangutica

Commonly known as the 'Orange Peel Clematis' and for good reason too, Clematis tangutica is a gorgeous ornamental flowering climbing plant native to Mongolia and travelling west to northwest China. It was first introduced to English scientists when it arrived at Royal Kew gardens, London from St Petersburg in 1898. However it wasn't until 1919 that it first entered general cultivation.

How to grow Clematis tangutica
Clematis tangutica is a dense-growing, deciduous climbing plant noted for its rich-yellow, lantern-like blooms. It is an easy to grow species which under favourable conditions can achieve an approximate height of 4-8 metres and a width of 2.5-4 metres. This species has a somewhat straggly habit with grey-green foliage. The leaves are downy when young, and each leaflet is raggedly toothed, and either two or three-lobed. The thick-petaled blooms are produced on downy stalks appearing, nodding at first, in the early summer and autumn. The later flowers will appear at the same time as the first silky seedheads form.

Plant Clematis tangutica with the crown 5-8 cm deep (to help encourage new shoots to grow from below ground level) into a moisture-retentive, well-drained, alkaline to neutral soil. Like many other clematis the roots and base of the plant will need to be kept cool and shaded. This can be achieved by planting other plants closeby or apply a layer of pebbles at the base. It will perform best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

To help reduce the characteristically tangled habit of Clematis tangutica, cut back the stems each year to a pair of strong buds 15-20 cm above ground level. This can be done over the winter or before the new growth appears begins in the early spring at the latest.

Clematis tangutica received the award of Garden merit in 1984 from the Royal Horticultural Society.

Main image credit - Anneli Salo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Seed Head image credit - Jigger Roche licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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