November Clematis of the Month: Clematis napaulensis

The fresh new leaves of Clematis napaulensis in November

The fresh new leaves of Clematis napaulensis in November

Regrettably, a Seattle November consists of short dark days.  The only blooms that showed their faces  in my garden were two tired and tattered flowers from Clematis Versailles — not even worth taking a photo.

BUT …  Clematis napaulensis, a wintergreen winter bloomer originally from Nepal, leafed out despite gloomy cold days! The fresh new apple-green leaves emerging from summer’s dead-looking sticks lift my heart.  This plant looks completely dead in summer, so be sure to surround it with lively plants that will hide it’s morose summer nature.  Wintergreen rather than evergreen, Clematis napaulensis leafs out in late fall or early winter and blooms anytime between November and March.  My two-year-old plant just might bless me with blossoms this year, if the cold didn’t nip the buds (possibly even the whole plant!).  The lovely scented flowers are unusual in both their looks and their time of bloom.  Though the individual blooms are small (a little more than one inch), they bloom in small clusters, which engenders a sense of heft.

The beautiful and unusual winter blossoms of Clematis napaulensis.

The beautiful and unusual winter blossoms of Clematis napaulensis.

Unfortunately, December began here in Seattle with a long deep cold spell — several days when the temperature did not even warm up to freezing.  I worry that my tender clematis, like Clematis napaulensis, as well as  Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’ and Clematis ‘Alba Plena,’ may succomb.  Only time will tell.

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