Clematis are versatile, evergreen or deciduous vines with a huge range of flower sizes and colors, providing multi-season displays of blooms.
If you wanted to, you could have clematis blooming in your yard from the last frost in spring all the way up to the first frost in fall – and maybe even year-round if you live in the right Zone.
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Some clematis varieties will bloom for an extremely long time, while others are just a beautiful flash in the pan.
In this guide, we’re going to talk about some of the species and cultivars that bloom for a long time, how to encourage your plants to bloom for a longer period, and more.
Here’s what you can expect, coming up:
What You’ll Learn
Clematis are fascinating plants. Let’s talk about their flowering habits.
How Long Do Clematis Bloom?
The short answer is that it depends entirely on the species, cultivar, or hybrid you’re growing.
Some bloom for just a brief period, and some can flower for up to six months. Others bloom in spring with a second flush in late summer or early fall.
Young plants will usually start blooming a little bit later than mature plants, and they might end a bit earlier, too.
Once plants are three years old or more, they’ll usually start blooming for longer periods – and more prolifically.
If you’re new to growing these plants, it might help to take a look at our guide to growing clematis to help familiarize yourself with their cultivation requirements.
Since there’s no simple answer to how long the flowers bloom, let’s first look at the categories of bloom periods in clematis.
About Bloom Periods
You can broadly categorize these plants as early (Group 1), midseason (Group 2), and late (Group 3) varieties.
Alpine (C. alpina), cadmia (C. cadmia), downy (C. macropetala), and anemone (C. montana), are all early or spring bloomers.
These should be pruned after they have finished flowering to clean them up and give the plants some shape. These types bloom on old wood, so if you prune too much you’ll compromise next year’s display.
Most large-flowered hybrids (C. x hybrida), which include the most popular types found in nurseries like ‘The President,’ ‘Nelly Moser,’ and ‘Fireworks,’ are early or midseason bloomers.
You can cut large-flowered hybrids back after their first blooms have faded, and they’ll often grow back and give you a second flush. Because these bloom on old wood, you don’t want to cut them back too much or you risk ruining the next year’s floral show.
Group 2, known as midseason or summer bloomers include Asian virgins bower (C. florida), and hybrids like ‘Belle of Woking,’ ‘Jackmanii,’ ‘Multi-Blue,’ and ‘Silver Moon.’
Read our guide to summer-blooming clematis to learn more about a few of the biggest superstars in the midseason category.
Late season or fall bloomers (Group 3) include swamp leatherflower (C. crispa), golden (C. tangutica), scarlet leather (C. texensis), virgin’s bower (C. virginiana), Italian leather flower (C. viticella), and their hybrids.
Group 3 plants should be pruned in the spring by cutting them back to a few inches above the ground. These types bloom on new growth, so giving them a good chop in the spring encourages abundant flowering in the coming year.
If you want to enjoy colorful clematis from early spring to fall, you’ll need to plant one from each Group in your yard. Or, you can find one of the long-flowering types. Let’s talk about those, next.
Best Long-Flowering Options
If you don’t want to or don’t have the space for multiple plants to extend the flowering season, there are a few hybrids and cultivars that will reliably bloom over a long period.
If you’re looking for a non-vining type that will flower for a good, long while, check out the hybrid ‘Arabella.’ This cultivar flowers from June until October, with the most prolific period in July and August.
When blooming, the semi-herbaceous plant will be smothered in purplish-blue flowers with a hint of red down the center of each petal on a five-foot-tall bush that doesn’t require support.
Bred by one of Britain’s most respected clematis breeders, Barry Fretwell, it was introduced in the 1990s by Peveril Clematis Nursery. Its parentage is unknown, but it’s obvious that there’s some C. integrifolia in there, and it’s often mislabeled as such.
‘Arabella’ grows in Zones 4 to 10 and is in pruning Group 3.
Boulevard is a series of Group 3 hybrids that are small and compact, earning them the nickname of patio clematis.
At under five feet tall they are all small enough to thrive in containers, and they all bloom for an extraordinarily long time. They can be found in pretty much any color.
The Boulevard series was developed by British horticulturist Raymond Evison over decades to create colorful, tough, and adaptable plants that stay petite and thrive in Zones 4 to 10.
You can’t go wrong with any of the hybrids in this series, but here are a couple of notable options:
Bernadine™ has icy-blue blossoms with an impressive six-inch diameter.
You can grab it in a #1 container from Nature Hills Nursery.
Corinne™ has large blossoms with a pearl hue with burgundy at the center base of each petal.
It’s also available at Nature Hills Nursery in a #1 container.
Crystal Fountain, aka ‘Evipo 038’ doesn’t bloom nonstop, but it will flower in flushes starting in June through early September.
The bright lilac-blue flowers are five inches in diameter and are semi-double.
The plant stays fairly contained, with vines growing to about seven feet long, and is hardy in Zones 4 to 10.
The prolific Japanese breeder Hiroshi Hayakawa cultivated this hybrid out of a sport of ‘H. F. Young’ and it hit the market in 2007.
Nature Hills Nursery carries this Group 2 option in quart containers.
‘Daniel Deronda’ is an eye-catching jackmanii hybrid. The classic blue-violet blossoms are a massive eight inches in diameter and appear twice during the course of the growing season.
The first flush happens in late spring and includes huge semi-double flowers that last for weeks.
The second flush consists of single flowers that pop up in late summer and linger for weeks. It’s in Group 2 but blooms best on the old wood, so keep that in mind when pruning.
This large-flowered hybrid thrives in Zones 4 to 8 and grows up to eight feet tall with support.
From early summer to early fall, the hybrid ‘Ernest Markham’ is draped in six-inch purple-red blossoms on vines that grow up to 12 feet long.
Those in Zones 4 to 11 can pick up this Group 3 plant at Burpee.
Garland is a series bred to bloom in less-than-perfect environments with colorful, showy flowers. Tekla™ is the jewel in this collection’s crown.
The six-inch flowers are hot pink with ruffled petals. They first appear in early summer and then repeat in flushes over and over through fall on a bushy five-foot-tall plant.
Hardy in Zones 4 to 9, this plant is extremely disease-resistant. Nature Hills Nursery carries this outstanding Group 3 cultivar in a #1 container.
In Zones 4 to 9, ‘Harlow Carr’ shows up in spring with deep violet blossoms that last through late summer.
The flowers are a bit smaller than some of the others on this list at about three inches in diameter, but the vine makes up for it with volume.
It’s a Group 3 hybrid released in 2004 and a generous bloomer that grows to eight feet.
‘Jackmanii’ was released in 1862 and marked the beginning of the large-flowered hybrids that now dominate the market.
The huge flowers can be up to seven inches across with a vibrant violet hue and a red stripe down the center of the petal.
Not only is it beloved for its showy display, but it’s also well-known for its prolonged flowering that lasts from late spring through fall.
This Group 3 vine is happy in Zones 4 to 8, where it will reach up to ten feet tall.
Nab the improved ‘Jackmanii Superba’ at Nature Hills Nursery in a #1 or quart container.
‘Niobe’ is something special. Bred in the 1970s by breeder Wladyslaw Noll, in Poland, the six-inch wide garnet flowers have a loyal following, as well as earning the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1993.
If you see a large-flowered red clematis, chances are high it’s ‘Niobe.’
Technically a Group 2 bloomer, if you prune it hard in the spring like a Group 3, it will delay blooming by a few weeks but will reward your efforts with abundant blossoms.
Normally, it starts blooming in early spring until early fall in Zones 4 to 11.
This hybrid doesn’t have the familiar open-faced flowers that you’re probably used to.
Bred by clematis expert Kazushige Ozawa in Japan in 1988, it’s a hybrid of C. integrifolia and C. durandii that features cobalt bell-shaped flowers.
The hummingbirds love this plant and can feed on the flowers most of the summer as it blooms from mid-spring through fall.
Unlike most of the large-flowered hybrids you see in gardens, this one is intensely fragrant.
It grows about six feet tall in Zones 3 to 8 and is an easy-to-maintain Group 3 type.
Sometimes misspelled as “Roguchi,” no matter the spelling, it smells just as sweet.
You can bring home a live plant from Nature Hills Nursery.
With continuous blue-violet, four-inch blossoms from late spring until fall, Sapphire Indigo™ (aka ‘Cleminov 51’) is a clematis that keeps on giving.
This plant is a Group 2 type that has a bushy growth habit topping out at about four feet tall without support. It is hardy in Zones 4 to 10.
Nature Hills Nursery carries ‘Sapphire Indigo’ in a #1 container.
How to Extend Bloom Times
The best way to extend the flowering period is to plant your clematis in a spot with lots of sun.
Assuming you’ve already done that, support the plant by fertilizing and watering it regularly. A stressed plant won’t bloom for as long as it could.
Long-flowering hybrids differ from other types in that they can be cut back dramatically after flowering, and they will likely provide a second flush of blooms.
After the flowers fade, cut the vine back by about a third.
Group 2 clematis can be deadheaded as the flowers fade and you might be treated to a second flush.
Don’t bother deadheading the other groups. They won’t send out a second flush and you might interfere with next year’s growth.
Clematis Provide Long-Lasting Beauty
Clematis are some of the longest and most dramatic bloomers in the garden, which is no doubt part of the reason that they’re so incredibly popular.
It’s possible to have one flowering in your garden from the first frost to the last if you plant a specimen from each Group.
So, what’s your plan? Are you going to plant several for a three-season display? Or are one of the long-blooming types calling your name? Let us know in the comments section below.
Bloom time is only the tip of the clematis knowledge iceberg. Like I said, these plants are fascinating. Here are a few other guides that will help you learn more about growing these charming vines: