Click below to listen to my Garden Bite radio show: Scarlet leather flower
It’s hot, it’s summer, it’s the upper midwest. I came across a clematis that I’d not heard of while perusing an Organic Gardening magazine. This plant, clematis texensis also known as Scarlet Leatherflower is a native of Texas.
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 Leatherflower 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. Check out gardenbite dot com for a peek at these potential perennials.