Sun or Shade for Armrandii Clematis?


A vigorous evergreen vine that grows upwards of 20 feet tall, Armand's evergreen clematis (Clematis armandii) displays fragrant white blossoms in early to mid-spring. Occasional flowering occurs across the summer, too. If flower are absent, the leathery, glossy dark green leaves add beautiful texture and color to the garden. A pink-flowering cultivar is named "Apple Blossom." Grow Armand's evergreen clematis in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 8 to 10.

Native Habitat

Armand's evergreen clematis is native to southern China's woodlands. It grows on the edges of woods or on fence rows.

General Light Requirements

Since this vine is a woodland native, providing a partially shaded exposure in the garden is ideal. That means between 3 to 6 hours of direct sun rays broken through tree branches over the course of the day. If not enough light reaches the vine, flowering displays are greatly diminished.

Cool Summer Climates

If the summer climate is cool, with temperatures infrequently above 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the Armand's evergreen clematis tolerates much more direct sunlight. The Floridata website notes the San Francisco Bay area as an example of where nearly full-sun exposure will not harm the foliage or flowering display on the plant. In fact, the extra sunlight provides a bit more warmth to sustain the fast-growing, almost tropical-like needs of this species of vine. Do plant it in a location sheltered from winds.

Hot Summer Considerations

The natural woodland habitat of this clematis always finds it in a cooler summer situation than if grown out in an exposed, sunny meadow. In hot summer climates where temperatures typically get warmer than 85 degrees Fahrenheit for many weeks, plant Armand's evergreen clematis where it receives ample shade in the hottest part of the day--from midday to late afternoon. Excessive heat will stress the vine and increase its watering needs. Two to four hours of direct sunlight only in the early and mid-morning hours would be best in regions where summers are long and hot.

Growing Tips

A fertile, moist, well-draining soil will allow the clematis vine to grow well regardless of light exposure. Sandy soil must be amended with lots of humus (organic matter such as leaf mold, peat or compost) to improve its water retention and nutritional qualities. Clay soils also need organic matter to improve the texture of the soil, drainage and aeration. A mulch layer, 2 to 3 inches deep, also helps keep the vine's roots cool in summer and retains moisture. According to the "Sunset Western Garden Book," the Armand's evergreen clematis' foliage burns, and the leaf tips brown, if the soil or irrigation water is unusually high in salts.

Keywords: evergreen clematis, Clematis armandii, growing Armand's clematis

About this Author

James Burghardt has written for "The Public Garden," "Docent Educator," nonprofit newsletters and for horticultural databases, becoming a full-time writer in 2008. He's gardened and worked professionally at public and private gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. He has written articles for eHow and GardenGuides.