Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Scarlet leather-flower
So how does a Minnesotan see the state of Texas… oppressively hot? Yup! That made me think about this plant, clematis texensis also known as Scarlet Leather-flower , a native of Texas. Since our temps have been in the low 90’s…. this guy seemed appropriate to talk about!
So why do I bring it up? Somewhat because I’m feeling like we’re in Texas lately, but the other reason is that this Texas native offers a possibility for those of us in zone 4. It’s different from other clematis that prefer shade on their roots, this little beauty loves a southern or southwestern exposure and at least 6 hours of full sun. It’s also drought tolerant and blooms only on new wood. That means you prune it every late winter down to 8 to 12 inches tall and then in the spring watch Scarlet Leather-flower climb your trellis, your rose bush, your fence to 9 to 12 feet!
If you have clay soil, add plenty of peat moss and compost to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Add a mild fertilizer in March and water weekly the first year. Once this plant is established, the roots will dive deep for moisture making it drought tolerant.
For a deep cherry pink, ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’ looks great rambling over your shrubs.
And then there’s ‘Gravetye Beauty’, one of the truest red clematis. When autumn arrives, whirly seedheads create a soft display.