Magazine article Sunset

Sublime Vines

Magazine article Sunset

Sublime Vines

Article excerpt

Clematis and passion flowers bear the SHOWIEST BLOOMS on earth

Of all the flowering vines, few win more admiring looks than clematis and passion flowers. And no wonder: they bear some of nature's most alluring blooms in a range of exquisite forms and colors. Both are easy to grow in the right climates. In general, clematis prefer cooler regions, while passion flowers flourish in mild California climates.

Passion flowers

Passion vine (Passiflora) flowers are borne on mostly vigorous vines suitable for covering fences, trellises, and walls. Hardiness varies by species and variety. In marginal climates, the vines may freeze to the ground, but plants spring back from the roots. Many of the listed varieties are available by mail (for source, see page 119).

SPECIES. Passiflora alatocaerulea. Fragrant flowers 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide are white shaded pink and lavender with deep blue or purple crowns. Extremely vigorous vine; evergreen or semievergreen. Blooms all summer. Sunset climate zones 12-24; root-hardy in zones 5-9.

P. vitifolia. Bright red flowers 3 1/2 inches long are set off by deep green grapelike leaves. Summer blooming. Evergreen. Zones 16-17, 23-24.

HYBRIDS. 'Coral Glow'. Fuchsia-pink flowers are nearly everblooming in coastal areas of Southern California. Glossy, three-lobed leaves are broad. Very vigorous. Hardy to 30 [degrees]. (Similar 'Coral Seas' thrives in cooler coastal areas of Northern California and is hardy to about 25 [degrees].)

'Elizabeth'. Spectacular lavender flowers appear spring through fall. Big, 4-inch-wide leaves are a glossy yellow-green. Extremely vigorous plant. Hardy to about 25 [degrees].

'Lavender Lady'. Lavender-purple flowers have delicate violet filaments. Dark green leaves are 2 to 3 inches wide. Hardy to about 20 [degrees].

'Purple Tiger'. Spectacular purple-red flowers, with banded dark purple and blue filaments, appear all summer in Northern California, almost year-round in Southern California. Hardy to 25 [degrees]. (Similar 'Ruby Glow' does best in Southern California and is hardy to about 30 [degrees].)

'Scarlet Flame'. One of the showiest, it bears red flowers with reflexed petals all summer. Prefers warm climates. Hardy to 25 [degrees].


More than 200 species of clematis, as well as scores of hybrids, are available. Many nurseries carry a few varieties of clematis. You can also buy plants from mail-order suppliers (see page 119). Here are a few of our favorites. …

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