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Top 10 Summer Plants

4

Clematis

Clematis bloom in the early summer.
Clematis bloom in the early summer.
Heather N. Kolich

The early summer blooming group (group 2) of the clematis family (Clematis) dishes up plate-sized flowers in a range of colors and a variety of forms -- single, semi-double and fully double. These climbing vines rewarded growers with a double-dose of flowers. The first buds form in spring on old growth. In the summer, a second crop blooms on spring and summer stems. The flowers last for days, and new flowers form throughout the summer.

Clematis in group 3 are late bloomers. They form flowers on new growth in summer and keep blooming throughout the fall. Some late-blooming varieties have flat, star shapes like the earlier bloomers, but others produce flowers that look very different. Rather than facing up to the sun, group 3 clematis may form tubular flowers, columns of bells or down-turned, nodding flowers with hood-like petals.

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Clematis is a hardy perennial that thrives in zones 3-9. It likes plenty of sun but prefers to have its roots in a shady spot. Some varieties reach 10-15 feet (3-4.5 meters) in length. They need pruning in early spring, before new growth starts.

On the next page, read about a stunning artistic inspiration.

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