Climbing plants Gardening

35 Easy Clematis for Laidback Gardeners

By Larry Hodgson

Clematis have the reputation of being capricious … and there’s a lot of truth to that. Sometimes one will grow beautifully while its neighbor, even if it is the same cultivar, languishes and a third out-and-out dies. Yet the conditions are strictly identical! It’s enough to make you want to pull out your hair in frustration!

One way to avoid this problem is to plant varieties of clematis that are known to be easy to grow. The following list (not exhaustive by any means) gives you some suggestions of low-maintenance clematis that really will give good results pretty much every time!

  1. Clematis alpina and its cultivars (‘Columbine’, ‘Francis Rivis’, ‘Jacqueline du Pré’, ‘Ruby’, etc.) zone 3
  2. C. ‘Arabella’ zone 5
  3. C. ‘Betty Corning’ zone 4
  4. C. ‘Countess of Lovelace’ zone 3
Clematis ‘Elsa Spath’ with broad purple flowers.
Clematis ‘Elsa Spath’. Photo:
  1. C. ‘Elsa Spath’ zone 3
  2. C. ‘Ernest Markham’ zone 4
  3. C. ‘Gipsy Queen’ zone 4
  4. C. ‘Guernesy Queen’ zone 4
  5. C. ‘Hagley Hybrid’ (‘Pink Chiffon’) zone 3
  6. C. heracleifolia zone 3
  7. C. ‘Huldine’ zone 3
  8. C. integrifolia zone 3
  9. C. ‘Jackmanii’ zone 3
  10. C. ‘Jackmanii Alba’ zone 3
  11. C. ‘Jackmanii Superba’ zone 3
  12. C. ‘Lady Betty Balfour’, zone 3
  13. C. macropetala and its cultivars (‘Bluebird’, ‘Markham Pink’, ‘Rosy O’Grady’, ‘White Swan’, etc.) zone 4
  14. C. ‘Madame Baron-Veillard’ zone 3
  15. C. mandschurica zone 3
  16. C. ‘Marie Boisselot’ zone 3
  17. C. montana and its cultivars zone 7
Clematis 'Nelly Moser' with two-tone pink flowers.
Clematis ‘Nelly Moser’. Photo: ttseedscom
  1. C. ‘Nelly Moser’, zone 3
  2. C. ‘P.B. Truax’, zone 4
  3. C. ‘Perle d’Azur’, zone 3
  4. C. ‘Ramona’ zone 3
  5. C. recta zone 4
  6. C. ‘Rooguchi’ zone 4
  7. C. tangutica and its cultivars and hybrids (‘Bill Mackenzie’, ‘Kigotia’ Golden Tiara®, ‘Helios’, etc.) zone 2
  8. C. texensis and its cultivars zone 4
  9. C. ‘The President’ zone 3
  10. C. ‘Ville de Lyon’ zone 3
  11. C. virginiana zone 2
  12. C. viticella and its cultivars (‘Margot Koster’,‘Polish Spirit’, ‘Purpurea plena elegans’, ‘Royal Velours’, ‘Venosa Violacea’, etc.) zone 4
  13. C. ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ zone 5
  14. C. ‘Warszawska Nike’ (‘Warsaw Nike’) zone 3

Based on an article that originally appeared in this blog on May 25, 2015.

Garden writer and blogger, author of 65 gardening books, lecturer and communicator, the Laidback Gardener, Larry Hodgson, passed away in October 2022. Known for his great generosity, his thoroughness and his sense of humor, he reached several generations of amateur and professional gardeners over his 40-year career. Thanks to his son, Mathieu Hodgson, and a team of contributors, will continue its mission of demystifying gardening and making it more accessible to all.

3 comments on “35 Easy Clematis for Laidback Gardeners

  1. We keep trying. They do not perform well, but the minimal and brief bloom we get is worth the trouble.

  2. I’m the early spring here in MI some years my clematis has tons of dead wood on the side looking awful. Many years it never fills in enough new plant branches leaved out to cover the unsightly old wood. Can I safely just cut away all those old branches and not kill my whole climate plant?

    • Certainly. Just be careful not to damage living branches. And even if you do cut back a living stem by accident, that won’t kill the plant – it will produce one or more replacement stems -, although it might reduce flowering.

Leave a Reply

Sign up for the Laidback Gardener blog and receive articles in your inbox every morning!