Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
If you tire of the usual mums and snapdragons, try something unusual. Clematis are superb cut flowers. Depending on the cultivar you choose, they may be perennials or vines.
Most clematis blooms have a vase life of about 7-10 days. A favorite way of using them is to float them in bowls.
There are many kinds of clematis, but one particular cultivar, ‘Inspiration,’ makes an outstanding cut flower. In trials, ‘Inspiration’ stems lasted for as long as three weeks. That record is certainly hard to beat. Most important of all, the plant produces loads of blooms on the new growth from June through September. So, you’ll have flowers throughout the growing season.
The unique hot pink, medium size blooms are rather airy with lots of space between the four petals. Its flower stems are very long, making it easy to use as a cut flower. The fluffy centers are bright yellow.
The eye-catching plant is a compact, half-climbing cultivar that can reach about 5 feet in height. It is suitable for containers and perennial beds. This plant is recommended for USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9.
This cultivar won various awards in Europe.
‘Inspiration’ was bred in the Netherlands, and was introduced to the market in 2000. It made its debut at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2001, and wowed the crowds. Its parentage includes Clematis integrifolia ‘Warsaw Nike’ and ‘Rosea.’
Like all climbing and semi-climbing clematis, ‘Inspiration’ will need a trellis or some other means of support.
Clematis grow best in full sun to light shade in a moist, rich, well-drained soil. Keep the soil moist during the growing season.
‘Inspiration’ doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. So use only half the recommended rate listed on the fertilizer package. Water-soluble types would work just fine. Long-lasting controlled-release fertilizers are also suitable. With those, you only need to add them at the beginning of the gardening season.
‘Inspiration’ plants are available from various sources. An Internet search turned up sources in Germany, Poland, England, and British Columbia.
You can see a photo of Clematis 'Inspiration' at www.planthaven.com/cleminsp.htm