Last updated on March 19th, 2021
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Not all plants thrive in shade, so if you have a shaded region of your garden, it is best to find a clematis that will do well in shade, most clematis well grow in shade as they usually grow within the trees but the flowers are often above the canopy of the trees. There is however some clematis that does better than others in those shadier areas of the garden.
This list includes 10 of the best clematis for shade, all of which flower at different times and grow to different sizes. We have also included pictures so you can see how beautiful they truly are.
The top ten varieties include:
- Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’
- Clematis alpina ‘Blue dancer’
- Clematis montana
- Clematis montana ‘Grandiflora’
- Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’
- Clematis macropetala ‘Markhams pink’
- Clematis ‘Piilu’
- Clematis ‘Proteus’
- Clematis ‘Rouge Cardinal’
- Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxurians’
1. Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’
Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’ offers large, pink flowers that span 15-20cm across. The plant produces two waves of flowers, one at the end of spring/beginning of summer and the other at the end of summer/beginning of Autumn. Once the flowers have come and gone they leave behind a beautiful seed head.
Very shade tolerant, it requires well-drained soil and can reach between 100 and 200cm in height. If you want to encourage the double wave of blooms, it is recommended that you deadhead after the first round. This variety is part of Group 2 which means it should be pruned at the end of winter or the beginning of spring. It too is a climber like so many of the shade tolerant varieties which means that you can keep it around fences, pergolas, or along walls.
2. Clematis Alpina
Clematis Alpina is one of the first clematises to bloom come springtime. It is a deciduous plant with bell-shaped, blue flowers that cover a white centre. It blooms from the middle of spring until the end of spring. But the flowers are not all that draws the eye; the seed heads are ornamental and silver in colour. This variety works well over pergolas or fences that are under shade most of the day.
The RHS has awarded this variety the Award of Garden Merit. It thrives in well-drained soil and prefers to keep the feet shaded with the heads in the sun which is why it works well as a creator of shade for your garden.
This variety can grow up to 180-300 cm in height very quickly. It is part of the Group 1 clematis so it will climb unhindered and will not necessitate a lot of pruning. Also great for attracting bees.
3. Clematis Montana
There are many varieties of Clematis montana but most offer sweet scents from their pink flowers that reach 5-7cm across. The blooms arise at the end of spring/beginning of summer and are so profuse that you likely won’t catch a glimpse of your green foliage until such a time as it has transitioned to bronze. This particular variety is known for its delightful scents.
Many varieties have been given the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS. It thrives in well-drained soil with partial shade and is resistant to pests and clematis wilt. If left unchecked it will span between 9 and 12m wide and 2 to 3 m high. It is part of Group 1 so it does not require regular pruning so is virtually maintenance-free
4. Clematis montana ‘grandiflora’
The Grandiflora is a deciduous climber that prefers shade and offers white flowers spanning 7cm, with bright yellow interiors. It will bloom at the end of spring and beginning of summer, with blooms so large that the green leaves can hardly be seen underneath. This is part of Group 1 which means you need to do very little by way of pruning.
5. Clematis ‘Guernsey Cream’
The Guernsey Cream, part of the Group 2 clematis, grows quickly and produces two rounds of flowers per season. As such, you can deadhead after the first flush and prune it at the end of winter or start of spring, and then again in between flushes.
This is a magnificent variety with large flowers that start out yellow and fade to cream. They are about 12-15 cm wide and thrive in well-drained soil. This is a fast grower too and left unchecked will reach 180-240cm.
6. Clematis macropetala ‘Markhams pink’
This deciduous climber has cotton candy-coloured flowers that give you 7-10cm wide blooms and creamy yellow interiors. The blooms appear in the middle to end of springtime. It received the Award of Garden Merit from the RHS. You can easily propagate it by using semi-hardwood cuttings. Part of Group 1, it requires no pruning but does require well-drained soil and partial shade.
7. Clematis ‘Piilu’
Clematis Piilu is considered one of the best clematis for containers, and for shade. It has two waves of flowers, the first of which happens in late spring and is double while the second happens in late summer and is single. The flowers are pink, spanning 7-10cm each.
This is one of the heaviest varieties too and will flower so prolifically that it obscures your view of the foliage below. When in containers, it is ideal to place upward on a trellis. Like other varieties, this one needs moist soil and will tolerate shade, particularly if the bottom is in shade and the top of the plant is in sun. It will grow quickly, reaching up to 180cm high which is around 6ft.
8. Clematis Proteus
Proteus is part of Group 2, which means it requires pruning twice but it also gives flowers twice. The flowers are ruffled double flowers that arrive in late spring and take on pink and purple colours. Round two offers single flowers in the summer. The blooms are quite large and the plant, even larger up to 180cm.
9. Clematis ‘Rouge Cardinal’
Clematis ‘Rouge Cardinal’ is a red clematis, with velvety flowers that are rich in colour, adorned with cream-coloured stamens and spanning 12-18 cm. They fall under Group 2 which means you get to enjoy the beautiful red colour twice each season. This variety is shade tolerant but requires moist soil.
It will grow fast, each 50-100cm wide and 200-400cm high. Given that it produces flowers in two waves, it is recommended that you prune twice, and deadhead in between the flushes so that you can encourage more growth. Also ideal for growing on a pot.
10. Clematis viticella ‘Alba Luxurians’
Flower shapes come in many forms and with this variety, it comes in the form of a pinwheel. The buds are elongated and the flowers are a beautiful white and appear from July through to September. The variety is deciduous and ideal for training over fences or other trees. It will cascade easily once it reaches maturity and will reach 12ft.
Extremely hardy and also ideal for growing in pots. This variety needs to be pruned hard and is part of group 3 clematis
Last update on 2021-11-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API