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.


  1. Catherine McNally said,

    April 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Would you share with me where you bought this clematis? I’ve been looking for it for some time. Thank you!


    • April 2, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Hi, Catherine,

      Clematis napaulensis is indeed a difficult clematis to find. I bought mine at a visit to the greenhouses of the Rogerson Clematis Collection in Lake Oswego, Oregon. I don’t think they do mail order, so you actually have to go there, but there’s no guarantee they’ll have that particular plant available when you’re there. You can also grow it from seed — I got seed through the International Clematis Society and have a couple of babies growing now, too (for insurance–smile). If mine ever blooms (I might have it in too much shade), I’ll offer seeds.



      • Catherine McNally said,

        April 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

        That’s very generous of you, Laura. Thanks so much for all the information, a trip to Lake Oswego would be fun.


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