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Bałtyk is an early and abundantly blooming Polish large-flowered clematis variety with big purple-lilac petals. It blooms from May to June, with the possibility of a second flush coming in late summer. It grows moderately strongly and may reach up to 3 m in height. It’s an undemanding variety recommended for beginner gardeners.
General description: The Bałtyk variety was created near the end of the 20th century by Stefan Franczak, one of the most notable clematis horticulturalists, known for creating the Blue Angel, John Paul II, Polish Spirit, Westerplatte and Mother Urszula Ledóchowska varieties. The Bałtyk clematis was awarded the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) by the British Royal Horticulture Society (RHS).
Flowers: This clematis has very large, single flowers, around 17 cm in diameter, composed of 6-8 wide lavender-blue petals. In the centre of the flower is a cluster of red anthers on pale filaments.
Blooming: Flowering commences in mid-May. After gentle trimming once flowers have fallen, Bałtyk can repeatedly bloom on the current year’s shoots.
Leaves: Bałtyk’s leaves are light-green, single, with entire margins.
Cultivation requirements: This clematis can grow in sunny, semi-shaded or shaded spots, however it thrives best in well-lit places. Locations near walls with south-eastern or south-western exposure are ideal. Bałtyk needs moist soil rich in humus, with a neutral or slightly acidic pH for optimal growth. The substrate must be breathable (heavy, compacted clays are not suitable but sandy soils are also not advised).
Care: In autumn it is worth covering the base of the plant either with compost or decomposed, old or granulated manure, and in spring applying a mineral fertilizer is recommended. Regular generous watering is needed during the growth season (unless heavy rainfall occurs).
Pruning: Trimming a young clematis plant should not be feared – such pruning forces outward growth right from the base, and as a result the shrub looks denser in later years. The Bałtyk variety should be only lightly pruned, meaning that in the first year after planting, clipped just above healthy buds, around 30 cm from the ground. In the second year, some 70 cm above the base and in later years it should be cut to a height of up to 1.5 m (the younger or weaker the plant, the more should be cut from the top). Pruning clematises during blooming in spring and early summer should be limited to removing damaged or dead shoots, or, if needed, they may be trimmed to a height of about 1.5 m. Pruning shrub branches that have finished flowering is recommended to encourage new blossom on the current year’s shoots.
Props: This variety easily grows on all kinds of nets, poles, hung ropes, grates and trellises, fences, pergolas and arbours. The elements of support should not exceed 1 cm in diameter.
Overwintering: This clematis is frost resistant (in hardiness zone 4, withstanding -34°C). Protecting young seedlings for the winter is recommended, by piling a mound of soil or peat about 30 cm in height over the plant. This clematis is a deciduous shrub.
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