Buying Clematis in Autumn

Autumn is a GREAT time to buy clematis!  Not only do many nurseries offer the last of their raggedy-looking but healthy clematis at great discounts, but also fall is an ideal time to plant clematis in the Pacific Northwest.  

Choosing a Clematis Variety

If you have a smart phone, the easiest way to pick out which available clematis variety you want is to google Clematis on the Web, a fabulous website with photos and detailed information on thousands of clematis.   Not only can you see what the flower will look like, but you can also find out when it blooms, how big it gets, how hardy it is, and much much more.  If you don’t have a smart phone, write down the names of some of the clematis available at the nursery and check them out on your home computer before buying (I know, I know, that means two trips to the nursery–how much of a hardship is that?).

Choosing a Specific Plant

Now that you know which variety you want, check to see if there are multiple pots of that variety.  If so, look carefully to see how many stems (or vines) there are at or near the base of the plant.  The more stems the better! A plant with multiple stems will generally be a much healthier plant over the long haul.  Check the two photos recently taken at a local nursery–the one at the top of the page has three stems; the one below only one.  Buy the multi-stemmed plant!

Upcoming Topics:  Planting tips; October-blooming clematis; harvesting seedheads–so check back!


  1. Patrick said,

    February 23, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Hi –
    I’m confused 😦 ! I’m reading and reading and reading up on growing Clematis – and I see 2 words, “stems” and “vines” and sometimes the author uses them interchangeably and that causes confusion. I think
    of the “stems” as the little ‘arms’ or appendages that grow off of the “vines”. I think of the “vines” as the main large growth of the plant.
    But I see certain authors use the word ‘stem’ when infact they are referring to the main vines. Wow. As a new grower of Clematis, this sure is confusing !


    • February 23, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Hi, Patrick,

      I can understand your confusion. I think the reason that stem is so often used to indicate a single vine of a clematis plant is that the whole plant with all its individual vines is referred to as a vine. You are right, we also refer to leaf stems, or petioles. Personally, I generally use the word vine to refer to the whole plant and either individual vines or stems to refer the separate parts of the vine. And I use the terms leaf stem or petiole to refer to the small bits that end in leaves.

      Hmmm, I’m not sure this is any clearer!



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