BGA
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:51 pm
Location: Minnesota

To what will clematis cling?

Will a clematis cling to these railings?

https://i39.tinypic.com/314bdb6.jpg

The railings are plastic and roughly 1.5" by 1.5" square. The vertical beams and the deck flooring are composite. The stained steps are wood as well as the lower, stained, posts. Basically everything that is white is plastic or composite and everything that is brown is wood (except for the platform which is composite too).

I was going to use fishing line tied to little nails as a structure for the clematis to cling to but I can't nail into a plastic railing. Any suggestions? Will clematis cling to those railings? Can you drive nails in to composite board? What could I use to attach fishing line to those plastic railings if the clematis won't cling to them?

[The hose and mailbox will be moved, and this picture was taken last summer so, no, those flowers aren't really blooming now. :p]


Thanks

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

I imagine you can drive nails into composite. (What kind of fasteners did they use to hold the railings together when building them?)

My choice, though, would be to drill small pilot holes and then use small threaded hooks ... something like cup hooks ought to work ... to tie the fishing line to. I use sisal twine, at least I think that's what it is. My clematis is so bushy and full that the twine is completely hidden. I take it down in the fall, when I cut back the main stem of the plant. :)

BGA
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:51 pm
Location: Minnesota

Kisal wrote:I imagine you can drive nails into composite. (What kind of fasteners did they use to hold the railings together when building them?)

My choice, though, would be to drill small pilot holes and then use small threaded hooks ... something like cup hooks ought to work ... to tie the fishing line to. I use sisal twine, at least I think that's what it is. My clematis is so bushy and full that the twine is completely hidden. I take it down in the fall, when I cut back the main stem of the plant. :)
Thank you for the advice. I think that will work, provided that my client is okay with drilling in the plastic posts.

But I'm wondering, how large a post will clematis climb up? Will it grab those railings or are they too thick?

User avatar
plkelly
Senior Member
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2009 5:52 pm
Location: Springfield MO

I don't think they will grab the railing unless it's very rough. More likely they will get tall and tumble over the top railing. Mine do that on a tall fence and get very heavy--they are growing on a trellis with mesh stapled to it (the soft kind that comes in a roll, looks like chicken wire, but is not metal but some sort of plastic).

I think Kisal has a good idea, with the eyelets and twine. And Kisal, I didn't know you could cut them back in the fall. I always do mine in March and it's a mess. Maybe I'll try it your way this year. What kind do you have?

Patsy

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

I'm not positive, because the clematis was here and mature when I bought the house 25 years ago. However, I'm fairly certain that it's an old jackmanii. I used to just leave it alone all winter long, and then prune out the deadwood in the spring, after it began to sprout new growth. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who is a botanist told me I should cut it back to about "mid-shin" height (roughly halfway between your ankle and knee) every fall. He said that would make it develop a good strong main stem, but not one that was so long that all the flowers ended up way high underneath my porch roof. :)

I've followed that advice for the past 2 years, and the clematis has never before looked quite as healthy and full, and produced so many flowers. :)

I think it's going to need twine, or wire, or some such narrow support to cling to. Clematis put out little tendrils that wrap around whatever they touch, but they're only a few inches long. I don't think they'd be able to grab and securely hold onto a 1.5" square post. JMO, though. I've never tried it.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

BGA, what time of day was that photo? Is there enough sun here for clematis? Depends on which one you are using, right? If you use C. paniculata the shade won't matter or the railing size; it'll climb the house and kick in the front door (I have seen this go OVER the roof of a garage into the yard next door). But if we use C. heraclifolia it'll hate the shade and never climb; it's a bush type. Which clematis are you using?

HG
Scott Reil

BGA
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:51 pm
Location: Minnesota

The Helpful Gardener wrote:BGA, what time of day was that photo? Is there enough sun here for clematis? Depends on which one you are using, right? If you use C. paniculata the shade won't matter or the railing size; it'll climb the house and kick in the front door (I have seen this go OVER the roof of a garage into the yard next door). But if we use C. heraclifolia it'll hate the shade and never climb; it's a bush type. Which clematis are you using?

HG
The homeowner assures me that both sides of the entry get a little bit of sunlight every day.

I am planning on using jackmanii. My book lists it as sun/part shade for light, and I read on another forum that it will grow in the shade; won't love it, but will do okay.

Do you think that it will grow?

Is paniculata better for shade?

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Paniculata IS better in shade, but I wasn't joking about the rampant nature of the plant, and it is more a fall bloomer... but I don't think "a little bit of sunlight" is going to get good growth or much flower on that clematis; if they are not going to get a good share of the "ten until two" light, I think you might be dissappointed, but more importantly, your customer will...

Perhaps a more shade tolerant vine, like climbing hydrangea (H. anomola subsp. petiolaris) or Schizophragma hydrangeoides? Very nice look and you get a nice winter form (NOT the case with any clematis I know... Mix both the two I mentioned for more bloom time and VERY similar looks with just a touch of foliar color difference...

As this is business, we'll need to discuss consulting fees next time, but I'll give you one freebie... :)

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Hmmm ... that's interesting, HG. My clematis doesn't get any sun at all until about 2:00 p.m. :( It blooms beautifully, though.

I'll try to remember to post some pics when it's in bloom this year. :)

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

But from 2:00 until sundown you get sun? I could see that working, Kisal, especially as you noted 'Jackmannii' takes a little more shade, but I'm just very sceptical of this location, as BGA tells me it gets a "little sunlight"...I am just thinking there are better plants than clematis for that situation...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 27803
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 11:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Clematis likes shady feet though. Anyway, I'm joining in late but FWIW you can get clematis to "climb" the pictured railings if this client is willing to train them. Clematis doesn't have tendrils but uses a handy little kink in the leaf stems to grab on. When the support is thin enough like twine or a trellis, the kinks will twist around it like a tendril. If the support is thicker, as in this case, you just have to get them to build their own support system.

When two shoots have grown enough to reach around one of the railing uprights (I know there's a name for that) get the leaves from the two shoots to "grab on" by having them "hold hands" -- hooking the kinks together on the other side. In this case, if the distance between soil and the desired first upright is too far, you can just tie a fishing line or other invisible line to the bottom of the upright and tie the other end to a ground staple, etc. to secure it to the ground by the plant. Once one or two shoots have managed to gain a "handhold", the others will follow. Keep training the shoots as they grow into desired shape/location.

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

applestar wrote:Clematis doesn't have tendrils but uses a handy little kink in the leaf stems to grab on..
You're right, of course! I used the wrong term. :oops:

Do those little "kinked leaf stems" have a neam? :?:

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Not sure what a neam is, but the petioles stretch and wrap like tendrils, and make a pretty solid attachment...clematis will climb itself if no other structure is present...

HG
Scott Reil

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Not sure what a neam is ...
:P :P :P

So, I'm the world's worst typist!

:P :P :P

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

C'mon, don't be like that... :roll:

Cootchy Coo! :lol:

HG
Scott Reil

BGA
Newly Registered
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:51 pm
Location: Minnesota

The Helpful Gardener wrote:Paniculata IS better in shade, but I wasn't joking about the rampant nature of the plant, and it is more a fall bloomer... but I don't think "a little bit of sunlight" is going to get good growth or much flower on that clematis; if they are not going to get a good share of the "ten until two" light, I think you might be dissappointed, but more importantly, your customer will...

Perhaps a more shade tolerant vine, like climbing hydrangea (H. anomola subsp. petiolaris) or Schizophragma hydrangeoides? Very nice look and you get a nice winter form (NOT the case with any clematis I know... Mix both the two I mentioned for more bloom time and VERY similar looks with just a touch of foliar color difference...

As this is business, we'll need to discuss consulting fees next time, but I'll give you one freebie... :)

HG
We're in zone 4 here. Is that climbing hydrangea hardy here? I don't' think so... I've never heard of it.

Is there anything else in zone 4 that climbs and blooms in shade?

Return to “Perennials”