Clematis viticella L.
Clematis viticella, commonly called Italian clematis is a perennial climber that goes very well with roses.
Clematis viticella was described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus. The name is considered as validly published.
The climbers usually grow to a height of two to four, sometimes also to five metres. They have delicate shoots and grow at a moderate rate.
Clematis viticella is a decidious plant with imparipinnate leaves. These are arranged alternately along the stems. The proximal leaves sometimes are tri-foliate. The fresh green, somewhat leathery leaflets are broadly ovate to lanceolate or elliptic. The are entire to one- to three-lobed and have entire margins.
 Flowers and Fruit
The bell-shaped flowers consist of four sepals and numerous stamens. They are blue to purplue or rose-purple. The sepals are silky-pilose on der outside wich makes the velvety to the touch. The flowers are arranged solitary and appear from June to September. They are rather small compared to other Clematis but appear abundantly.
The fruits are nutlets.
Clematis viticella is native to Italy, the Balkan Peninsula, Turkey, Cyprus, the Caucasus and Iran, and is naturalized in France, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Clematis viticella prefers a sunny to half shady site and can withstand temperatures down to -23,3º C. It is important that the "foot" of the plants is in the shade. This can be achieved for example by planting low shrubs or bushy perennials. It grows best in sandy or gritty, loamy soil and sandy clay that is moderately moist. They do not tolerate stagnant moisture.
The Italian clematis needs a climbing aid. This can either be built structures such as pergolas, trellises and rose arches but also trees, shrubs or hedges. Roses generally are good companions for Clematis.
Cutting the plants back to within 50 centimetres of base in early spring promotes healthy growth.
Selection of Clematis viticella cultivars focuses mainly on flower colour, filling and form of the sepals.
Clematis viticella is poisonous.
Please read the health issues note!
 Pests and Diseases
Clematis wilt may occasionaly become a problem.
- Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
- Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.
- Clematis viticella in the Flora of North America
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