Articles - Clematis - Źródło Dobrych Pnączy


Clematis from the Texensis Group

I have yet to meet a garden lover who would not succumb to a bewitching charm of Clematis texensis and its hybrids. Even though I have been growing them for years I still rediscover their beauty again and again. 

Clematis texensis flowers have unusual shape of an elongated jug or an egg, open at the top and made up of 4 fancifully twisted tepals. The outer side of the tepals can be anything from deep red to orange red, and the inner side is most frequently creamy yellow or pink-red but you can also find the scarlet ones. Leaves are blue-green. The plant is a climbing semi-perennial - only the base of the stems is woody. Stems reach up to 3 m and twine around the supports by leaf petioles.

Clematis texensis is native to Texas, the USA. It came to Europe in 1868 under the name Clematis coccinea (on account of its red flowers) and right away it kindled avid interest of both breeders and garden lovers. As it's almost impossible to propagate the species vegetatively (cuttings, grafts,...) you can't find it in trade. Rare specimens in private collections are bred from seeds gathered at isolated nurseries, and seeds germinate only after 1-2 years. Fortunately, crossing the species with other clematis strains resulted in a number of attractive hybrids with tulip-shaped flowers that can be vegetatively propagated and found in garden centers. As they are repeated multi-species hybrids, they are classified into the Texensis Group, and not as cultivars of Clematis texensis. The first hybrids were bred by an English breeder - Artur George Jackman. Through crossing Clematis texensis with Clematis 'Star of India' he produced and in 1890 introduced to the market 6 new cultivars, two of which are still cultivated and highly valued - pink 'Duchess of Albany' and deep crimson-red 'Sir Trevor Lawrence'. As early as in 1903 the French nursery Lemoine et fils introduced the next clematis from the group - 'Etoile Rose' with pink, bell-shaped flowers. It was obtained through crossing Clematis x globulosa (a hybrid species received in the same nursery through a cross of Clematis hirsutissima var. scottii with Clematis texensis) and Clematis viticella. A few years later the renowned clematis breeder Francisque Morel produced 'Gravetye Beauty' - a hybrid with remarkably rich red flowers - by crossing Clematis texensis with one of large-flowered cultivars (it was most probably 'Gipsy Queen', 'Comtesse de Bouchaud' or 'Ville de Lyon', though we do not know it exactly). The next well-known hybrid from the Texensis Group didn't appear until 1984, raised by the Englishman Berry Fretwell as a cross of Clematis texensiswith

Clematis 'Bees Jubilee'. This intense pink clematis was named at first 'The Princess of Wales', but as it was frequently confused with the old Jackman's cultivar 'Princess of Wales' it was renamed in 1996 the 'Princess Diana'. Clematis from the Texensis Group reach up to 2-3 m and bloom in summer and early autumn (VII - IX) on new wood. The most compact ones are 'Etoile Rose' and 'Princess Diana'. Flowers are generally upward-facing and, with the exception of 'Etoile Rose' and 'Odoriba' which their nodding, bell-shaped blossoms, resemble lily-shaped tulips. They are made up of usually four or, as in case of 'Duchess of Albany' and 'Gravetye Beauty', 5 or 6 tough-textured tepals.

Despite its hot-climate origins Clematis texensis as well as its hybrids perform well in a cooler climate readily tolerating winter conditions. They are at their best in a well-lit position and are suitable for growing up all kinds of garden supports, arbors, gates and pergolas. They look particularly attractive growing through other climbers, shrubs or small trees. If you plant them near a path, a bench, a door or a window, you will get the opportunity of admiring their lovely flowers from close up.

You should plant them 5 - 10 cm deeper than they used to grow in a container. The ground within 1 m from the plant should be covered with a thick layer of mulch. It will protect the roots from the frost and prevent the soil from drying out. The stems of all the clematis from the Texensis group are woody only at the base and will die down to the ground during harsh winter. This does not pose a problem, however, as these cultivars are best pruned at ground level in early spring (late February - March) anyway, for the most attractive stems grow out of numerous underground buds. The main flaw of the clematis from the Texensis Group is a high susceptibility to powdery mildew, but you can diminish the risk of disease significantly by planting them in well-drained soil in a sunny spot with good air circulation, and by providing constant water supply. Chemical treatment is the most effective if done soon after the first symptoms have been noticed - red-brown spots on leaves, or white coating over the surfaces of leaves, young shoots or flowers. Spray the plant with one of currently recommended fungicides e.g. Rubigan 12 EC (0,03% concentration), Saprol 190 EC (0,15% concentration), or Baycor 300 EC (0,2% concentration). Repeat the application 2-3 times at 10-day intervals, changing the fungicide.



'Duchess of Albany' has tulip-shaped flowers of 5 cm in length, deep pink outside and pale pink within, with a deep pink stripe along the midrib of each tepal. Yellow anthers set on creamy filaments are visible only after the flower has fully opened.

ph roslina 0409 clematis texensis Duchess of Albany kwiatyClematis Texensis Group 'Duchess of Albany' (ph. Sz. Marczyński)
'Etoile Rose' - bell-shaped, nodding, flowers of about 3 cm in diameter, deep pink outside, the inside of the tepals pale pink with a deep pink, sometimes almost red bar. Stamens are made up of pale yellow anthers on white filaments. This cultivar is sometimes classified as a member of the Viticella Group on account of its close kinship with Italian Clematis. ph roslina 0409 clematis texensis Etoile Rose kwiatyClematis Texensis Group 'Etoile Rose' (ph. Sz. Marczyński)
'Gravetye Beauty' has unusual flowers, shaped like lily-flowered tulips of 6 cm in length and 8 cm across when fully open. Rich ruby red on the outside, velvety, bright crimson on the inside, with pale pink stripes on the outer edges of the tepals, clearly visible on opening. Flowers open much wider than other texensis types, revealing red anthers on white filaments. ph roslina 0409 clematis texensis Gravetye Beauty kwiatyClematis Texensis Group 'Gravetye Beauty' (ph. Sz. Marczyński)
'Odoriba' - a hybrid raised in 1990 by the Japanese breeder Kazushige Ozawa as a cross between Clematis crispa and Clematis viorna, both closely related to Clematis texensis. As a result of this provenance it is sometimes classified as belonging to the Texensis Group, though most frequently it's put in the separate Viorna Group . It has bell-shaped, slightly nodding flowers of about 2 cm across, intensely pink outside and on the margins of the inner side of the tepals, with a white bar along the midrib. Yellow-green anthers. Free-flowering over a long period. ph roslina 0409 clematis texensis OdoribaClematis Texensis Group 'Odoriba' (ph. Sz. Marczyński)
'Princess Diana' has tulip-shaped flowers of 6 cm in length, almost red outside. On opening the tepals spread outwards revealing the inner side that is pale pink at margins and vividly pink along the midrib. Nicely contrasting yellow anthers. ph roslina 0409 clematis texensis Princess DianaClematis Texensis Group 'Princess Diana' (ph. Sz. Marczyński)
'Sir Trevor Lawrence' has tulip-shaped flowers of about 5 cm in length. The inner side of the tepals is crimson-red at the edges and bright scarlet at the center. When fully open they expose attractively contrasting yellow anthers on creamy filaments. ph roslina 0409 clematis texensis Sir Trevor Lawrence kwiatyClematis Texensis Group 'Sir Trevor Lawrence' (ph. Sz. Marczyński)

Szczepan Marczyński