The Teddington Gardener

Liver spots – Clematis cirrhosa ‘Freckles’

P1000153

C. cirrhosa var. purpurascens ‘Freckles’

Clematis cirrhosa species is an early-flowering, evergreen climber from southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.

The flowers are cream, cup-shaped, often red-flecked and up to 7cm (3in) across, appearing in winter or early spring, and followed by attractive seed heads.

This attractive, vigorous cultivar was raised by Raymond Evison of Guernsey Clematis Nursery from wild seed collected in the Balearic Islands, and named after one of his daughters whose nickname is Freckles. It was introduced in 1989.

Its nodding, creamy pink flowers have reddish maroon speckling and it looks best at the back of a border on a wall or fence.

Cultivation

  • Grow in fertile, humus rich well-drained soil in sun or partial shade, with the roots and base of the plant in shade.
  • During hot summers Clematis cirrohosa var. pupurascens ‘Freckles’ will go into dormancy, as does C. cirrhosa, when growing in its native Meditterranean habitat. It may shed some leaves & stop growing, but when the temperature drops in early autumn, it will immediately regrow.
  • This cultivar prefers a warm, sunny position. Mulch all clematis in late winter with garden compost or well-rotted manure, avoiding the crown.
  • Plant with the top of the rootball about 8cm (3in) below the soil surface to reduce risk of clematis wilt. After planting cut back top growth of deciduous climbers to a strong pair of buds about 30cm (12in) above soil level. Provide strong support and tie in initially.
  • Once established, prune only if the plant outgrows its allotted space, by cutting back to 1m (3.25ft) from the ground immediately after flowering.
  • Clematis are generally free from pests, but a build up of aphids in spring could harm new growth.

Propagation

  • All clematis species can be successfully propagated from seed, which should be sown soon after harvesting to ensure good germination.
  • Propagate cultivars such as ‘Freckles’ by layering or cuttings.

AGM

The RHS Herbaceous Committee awarded Clematis cirrhosa var. pupurascens ‘Freckles’ an Award of Garden Merit and described it as:

‘Large evergreen climber with neat, finely-cut leaves tinged bronze in winter. Flowers 5cm wide, pale yellow heavily speckled with maroon within. Good silky seed-heads.’

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