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Growing Clematis with Roses

Growing clematis with roses has been a favourite with many gardeners for a long time and makes an eye-catching display. They combine to make classic colour combination and are highly compatible in soil, planting, spring pruning and size requirements for many varieties. The range of colour combinations is extensive as roses have a number of yellow and orange colours available that can go well with the colours of the clematis. Whether the gardener opts to have a harmonious colour palette where the plants compliment each other or wants to have a vivid, contrasting colour display to capture the viewers eye, there are a large range of colour combinations that can be achieved. To ensure the clematis and the roses bloom at the same time it is advisable to use a rose with a long flowering period, so it will be in bloom when the clematis is flowering.


Achieving the colour combinations obviously requires the gardener to choose varieties with a similar flowering period however, some gardeners will choose a combination of varieties that have a different flowering periods so there is a display of flowers for extended viewing pleasure. In these instances you may choose an early flowering clematis variety that will display the clematis blooms before the rose bursts into flower or, a late flowering variety of clematis might be used to provide colour after the rose has stopped blooming. The rose will provide the support for the clematis. 

In addition to colour 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, the roses are used as a support. You can plant up to three clematis to one climbing rose with a clematis planted on either side of the trunk of the climbing rose and the other in the middle to go up the main trunk.

If using multiple clematis on the one rose it is possible to choose clematis varieties that bloom at different time to achieve a combination of displays. An early flowering clematis can be selected to bloom before the rose, another variety to bloom with the rose and yet another late flowering variety to bloom after the rose. The combinations are up to the gardeners preferences and desires for their garden.

Avoiding Problems with Pairing 

Planting roses and clematis in combination is a relatively simple exercise, but attention to some small details will ensure the best results.​

  • Watering - Roses can tolerate much drier conditions than the clematis so you will need to adjust your watering regime to suit the clematis to achieve the best results.
  • Nutrients - Clematis are hungry plants and should be planted at least 60cm away from the rose to reduce the competition for nutrients by the hungry roots of the plants. The clematis can be trained to the rose using a cane or a string to guide them.
The combinations are many and will provide added interest to any garden.  
Happy gardening.
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