Scarlet leather-flower

Thu. Jul. 18, 2019

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!

Clematis texensis ‘Princess Diana’

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.

Clematis texensis ‘Duchess of Albany’

For a deep cherry pink, ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’ looks great rambling over your shrubs.

Clematis texensis ‘Sir Trevor Lawrence’

And then there’s ‘Gravetye Beauty’, one of the truest red clematis.  When autumn arrives, whirly seedheads create a soft display.

Gravetye Beauty