Clematis and roses are not only the most classic combination in the garden, but they’re highly compatible in several key areas. Soil, planting guidelines, spring pruning, bloom times and size compatibility are a few of the specifics that help the ‘kings and queens of climbers’ partner up for eye popping displays in your garden.
Contrasting color palettes are easy, as roses have a plethora of yellow and orange colors available, the perfect foil to the great selection of blue and purple clematis. Whether you opt for a harmonious color palette or a contrasting pairing, roses and clematis blooming together is something that every garden should experience.
In addition to color palette choices of harmonious or contrasting, bloom time for the pairing can be alternate so that something is always in bloom in the pairing, or you can choose a pairing likely to result in the rose and the clematis blooming together. Early blooming clematis can be grown on the roses before the roses flower, or you can choose clematis whose bloom span will coincide with the flowering of the roses. As the season continues, clematis can be grown on the roses after the roses have finished flowering, i.e. the roses are used as a support.
The easiest way to ensure that your clematis and roses bloom together is to plant roses that are continuously flowering. Success is more likely with a rose with a long bloom period, as it will be in bloom when your clematis is blooming.
Good choices for this are: Golden Showers’, ‘Mermaid’, ‘Compassion’, ‘Pink Perpetue’, and ‘New Dawn’. Up to three clematis can be planted to one climbing rose. One clematis is put on each side of the trunk of the climbing rose and then a further one is put at the middle to go into the main trunk.
Avoiding the problems below to increase the success of your pairing:
1. Too close.
The clematis is planted too close to the rose and thus it’s hungry roots are competing with the rose roots. The clematis should be at least 2ft (60cms) away from the rose and led to the climbing rose by a cane or string.
Roses have more tolerance for dry conditions than clematis, so water your combinations to the needs of the clematis for best results.
The clematis can be selected to all flower together or they can flower in sequence over a period of time. If the clematis flower together there is maximum impact for a short period, for example three of clematis ‘Etoile violette’ on the rose ‘Mermaid’. If you choose clematis that will flower in sequence there is an extended period of color. For example, the sequence could be an early season clematis such as ’Snow Queen’, a mid-season clematis such as ‘Hagley Hybrid’, and a late season clematis such as ‘Lady Betty Balfour’.
If you only have room for one climbing rose, we recommend ‘Compassion’. (Long period of flowering, beautifully shaped blooms and very fragrant.) If you have room for three, then we recommend ‘Compassion’, ‘New Dawn’ (long flowering, perfect for any clematis other than white, fragrant) ‘Pink Perpétue’ (wonderful with purple clematis).