Clematis 'The President' Plant Profile

A Vine of Many Uses

Clematis 'The President' on a fence
David Beaulieu

With its big, richly-colored flowers, The President clematis offers great aesthetic value for its looks, alone. But as a vine that can be trained to grow up various structures in the landscape, it has many uses that give it even more value. Like other types of clematis, it has some specific care requirements that you must learn so that you can keep your plant happy and healthy.

Botanical Name Clematis 'The President'
Common Name The President clematis
Plant Type Deciduous, perennial, flowering vine
Mature Size 8 to 10 feet tall
Sun Exposure Full sun to partial sun
Soil Type Well-drained, with average fertility
Soil pH Slightly acidic to neutral
Bloom Time May (primary blooming period)
Flower Color Violet-blue
Hardiness Zones 4 to 8
Native Area The Clematis genus is native to multiple regions across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

How to Grow Clematis 'The President'

Clematis 'The President,' like other members of its genus, is fussy in three respects:

  • Its roots must be kept cool.
  • You must know what pruning group it falls into before you attempt to prune it.
  • It is plagued by certain pests.

Light

At the southern end of its range, filtered sunlight is preferred, lest the rich color of the blooms be cooked off. Full sun is fine in the North. But always keep the roots shaded.

Soil

Locate Clematis 'The President' in a well-drained loam enriched with compost.

Water

Be sure to water when the soil is dry, but do not overwater. Clematis performs best when the soil around its roots is kept evenly moist.

Fertilizer

Non-organic growers supplement (or replace) compost with applications of a commercial balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 in spring and summer.

Even in the North, mulch the base of the plant (or otherwise shade the ground from which the plant springs) to keep the roots cool. Mulch will also help shield your plant from winter's cold, a fact especially important to remember if you are growing the vine in a container where winters are bad. Some who experiment with growing Clematis 'The President' in a pot forget to mulch for winter, and they pay the price, finding out, in spring, that their vine had died over the course of the winter.

Pruning Clematis 'The President,' Its Relations With Animal Life

This vine is a group 2 type when it comes to a pruning regimen. This means that you should prune it right after the first flowering. It is best to prune it every other year.

The ASPCA lists clematis as being toxic to dogs and cats. It is also poisonous for humans, according to North Carolina State University. Its toxicity may be the reason why the vines are deer-resistant plants. Clematis is also one of the rabbit-proof flowers.

Slugs are a major pest for clematis, just as they are for Hosta. Earwigs can also be a problem. Just as you can trap slugs with beer, so you can trap earwigs with vegetable oil. Simply sink a shallow container into the ground, then add the vegetable oil. The earwigs are drawn to it, tumble in, and drown. The usual advice for dealing with yet another bug problem, spider mite, is to hose down the vines with a strong spray of water, which knocks them off.

But the interaction between these plants and the animal kingdom is not all bad news. For example, they will draw hummingbirds to your yard.

What Clematis 'The President' Looks Like

This climbing vine is a large-flowered variety (6 to 8 inches in diameter). By contrast, sweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora), for example, has much smaller blooms, although, to its credit, they are more numerous. Showy, spherical, puffy seedheads succeed the blooms in this genus. As a result, you have fall interest long after the blooms have passed.

The cupped flowers of this cultivar are a dark violet-blue color, somewhat like that of Jackman's clematis (C. 'Jackmanii'). There are typically eight overlapping sepals, which have hints of silver on their undersides. Reddish anthers (part of the stamen, where the pollen comes from) stick out from the center.

Clematis is interesting in that the various types can display a different number of sepals. For example, C. 'Jackmanii' often has four, while Dr. Ruppel clematis (C. 'Dr. Ruppel') has six. You can sometimes find variation in this regard on the very same plant.

The plant is considered a "repeat bloomer." While it is still young, it may bloom in early July and again in September. But a mature plant should start blooming in May and then flower again periodically until the first frost. Like Jackman's clematis, it is a medium-sized vine.

Uses in Landscaping

Flowering vines such as Clematis 'The President' can be used in numerous ways in your landscaping. The vines need support for the best display, and there is no reason you cannot be creative in providing that support. Mailbox posts, lampposts, porch posts, and trellises are old standbys, but do not limit yourself to these. Other possibilities include:

Related Plants

Clematis is in the ranunculus family. A few other plants that belong to this family are: