The John Paul II clematis is a very sturdy large-flowered variety. It is characterized by big white flowers. Its leaves form a copious cloak of intense green colour. A particular advantage of this creeper is abundant, repeated flowering from June until September. This variety is easy to grow and is a perfect addition to any garden. It reaches a height of 3-4 m.
General description: The John Paul II clematis is a Polish large-flowered early-blooming variety. It reaches 3-4 m in height. This strain was created by a Jesuit clematis lover, brother Stefan Franczak, and was named in honour of pope John Paul II. It was commercially released just after Karol Wojtyła was elected pope.
Flowers: The John Paul II clematis has single, alabaster white flowers composed of six wide petals about 13/14 cm in diameter. They contrast beautifully with its leaves. In the centre of each flowers is a cluster of anthers with dark red pollen sacs suspended from cream-coloured filaments. As with many other clematises, the appearance of flowers changes throughout the blooming period. At the beginning of flowering, around June/July, petals are alabaster white or white with a slightly rosy tint. Near the end of summer, a pink streak running down the centre of each petal appears.
Blooming: This clematis begins to flower in June and repeatedly blooms until September.
Leaves: John Paul II has green trifoliate leaves with smooth margins.
Cultivation requirements: This variety can be planted in planting boxes or deep flowerpots (>45 cm), next to boughs or fences. This shrub can grow in full sun, semi-shade or shade. For optimal growth this clematis needs soil abundant in humus and moisture, with a neutral pH. The substrate must be breathable (heavy, compacted clays are not suitable). Locations near walls or other parallel support with south-eastern or south-western exposure are optimal. It’s worth mentioning that this variety likes to have its flowers in full sun, but its roots in the shade.
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 John Paul II 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 (this will reduce flowering, although not prevent it). Pruning shrub branches that have finished flowering is recommended to encourage new blossom on the current year’s shoots.
Props: Thanks to the petioles the John Paul II produces, it easily grows on all kinds of nets, poles, hung ropes, grates and trellises, fences, pergolas and arbours.
Overwintering: This clematis is frost resistant (in hardiness zone 4, withstanding -34°C). Protecting young seedlings for the winter is advised, by piling a mound of soil or peat about 30 cm in height over the plant. This clematis is a deciduous shrub.
The President large-flowered clematis is a relatively low but abundantly blooming variety that exhibits large, violet-navy flowers. It blooms form May to June, and again from July to September. It’s a hardy variety, recommended for any garden. It reaches up to 2.5 m in height.
Ville de Lyon is a hardy, profusely flowering variety with round, intensely carmine flowers and golden stamens. They bloom from late May to September, most intensively in the second half of summer. This clematis reaches 3-4 m in height.