Do you like clematis? Plant the princes!
It is difficult to find a grower who would not admire the beauty of clematis and would not like to plant this flower in the garden. However, many are stopped by the difficulties associated with the cultivation of this is not the easiest crop. Features of pruning, the need for shelter, insidious fungal diseases that can destroy an adult flowering bush overnight. All these questions completely disappear when growing the closest relative of clematis - a modest garden prince. Of course, this creeper has a slightly different look - not as solemn and noble as clematis itself - but once you see a flowering prince alive, it is hard not to fall in love with him.
The beauty of this flower is completely different - gentle, modest and mysterious. Currently, princes are still not very common in gardens, but they deserve more and more attention. After all, they are much easier to grow, and they will decorate the garden no less than the kings of garden vines - clematis.
Differences of the prince from clematis
The relationship of the prince and clematis is not in doubt. First of all, both plants belong to the same Lyutikov family and have in many respects a similar appearance - a liana-shaped stem, complex leaves, large and bright sepals framing the flower.
The botanical name of the prince Atragene (Atragene), and some scholars consider the prince to be a subgenus of clematis. Breeders who adhere to this point of view are launching new prince varieties under the name "clematis." Therefore, princes are often found for sale under this name, and the Latin name ‘Atragene’ is often indicated in brackets.
Specialists who do not consider the prince as a section of the genus "clematis" consider this plant an independent species. Be that as it may, the prince and clematis have a number of significant differences. Let's try to figure them out.
The main beauty of the inflorescences of princes and clematis is the presence of large brightly colored sepals, which are often mistaken for petals. Moreover, in reality, the true petals of clematis are completely absent, and the flower consists of numerous stamens surrounded by bracts and staminodynia. Clematis flowers in most cases are wide open, like saucers, and their size in diameter varies from 5 to 20 centimeters.
The prince's flower, on the contrary, has the shape of a drooping bell (terry forms also vaguely resemble a chrysanthemum or nymphaeum). Petals are framed by a cup with elegant thin pointed petal-shaped sepals of various colors. In size, the prince's flower is much smaller than that of clematis - 3-12 centimeters.
Clematis and princes climb up thanks to curly petioles easily wrapping around the thin supports that will meet on the way of their growth. Both plants have a complex type of leaf blade; their carved leaves are most often triple or double triple.
The main difference between clematis and prince from each other in relation to foliage is that the prince leaves have a serrated edge and a pointed shape, while the edges of clematis leaf blades are most often smoothed and generally look more rounded. True, this difference is true only in comparison of the prince with hybrid varietal clematis, since species clematis (Tangut, grape, etc.) can have foliage resembling prince leaves.
As you know, according to the flowering time, varietal clematis are divided into two types: flowering on the shoots of last year (blooming twice: the first wave around June, the second in August) and flowering on the shoots of young growth (blooming in June-July). The princes bloom very early - in late April - early May (some varieties - in early summer). Sometimes princes can repeat flowering towards the end of summer, but it will not be so plentiful.
Relationship to the light
Like most vines, clematis prefer their “legs” to be in the shade, and their “head” in the sun. Thus, the roots of the plant, under the canopy of shorter neighbors, will be protected from overheating and rapid drying, and foliage and inflorescences will receive enough sunlight to grow and develop.
Compared to clematis, the prince is more shade-tolerant and turns out to be an ideal vine for the vertical gardening of shady corners of the garden. In the sun, princes quickly fade, their inflorescences burn out and look paler. And young plants planted in a sunny place may even die.
Fans of clematis, for sure, are well aware of the insidious fungal disease called clematis wilt. At the beginning of the last century, this incurable disease almost completely destroyed the clematis planting in European gardens. The onset of the disease manifests itself suddenly, most often during the period of active flowering of the bush. First of all, the tops of young shoots fade near clematis, after which foliage and flowers. Also, the plant is covered with individual dark spots or leaves and stems are completely black.
Currently, there is no effective treatment against this scourge, and breeders are working on breeding varieties resistant to wilt, some of which can already be found on sale.
As for the princes, they are generally not affected by the wilt, with the exception of very rare cases. As a rule, with a successful choice of a landing site and proper care, diseases and pests bypass princes.
The need for clematis shelter largely depends on the variety. In most cases, clematis belonging to the second group of pruning (terry, large-flowered, etc.) show less winter hardiness and need careful shelter for the winter. Among the clematis of the third trimming group (Vititsela, Jacquman, etc.) there are both more and less winter-hardy specimens. In most cases, on branded packaging or in catalogs, the manufacturer indicates the minimum temperatures that a particular variety can tolerate in winter.
As for the princes, most of their species and varieties are highly winter-hardy, and without any shelter they tolerate frosts of –30 degrees and below. However, in some varieties of large petals princes, winter hardiness can be slightly reduced. Therefore, when buying varieties of Western selection it is better to study in detail the information about the variety.
Need to trim
In most cases, the aerial part of clematis is not resistant to freezing temperatures, and dies completely or partially in winter, and plant growth is resumed by replacing shoots from the roots. In this regard, several main groups of clematis are distinguished: the second - the stems are partially preserved, therefore they are pruned. And the third - the stems do not winter, vines completely cut off in the fall.
But the first group of pruning (do not need pruning) include species clematis and the princes themselves. Due to the winter hardiness of the princes, their lignified shoots are well preserved in the winter and do not require special pruning, with the exception of sanitary and forming.
Due to the high winter hardiness and the absence of mandatory pruning at the beginning of the season, princes wake up faster and are covered with leaves and young shoots that develop from the sinuses of last year's stems. When clematis only build up the aerial part after winter, these charming creepers are already completely leafy and begin to form buds.
Planting and caring for princes
In nature, wild species of princes are found in almost all the mountainous regions of Eurasia - from the Alps to the Caucasus and the Himalayas. From this it follows that princes are mountain plants that develop well on dry stony soils. Therefore, for planting these vines it is recommended to choose a dry place without stagnation of water. On heavy damp soils in a planting pit, it is better to arrange drainage.
Given that princes grow in nature on poor soils, these plants are undemanding to the level of fertility and do not need to be added to the planting hole with additional fertilizers when planting on moderately fertile garden soils. The mechanical composition of the soil should be loose, light and permeable. In relation to the soil reaction, the liana prefers a slightly alkaline or neutral substrate.
Princes can grow and bloom in an open sunny place, however, in this case, their leaves and flowers will be smaller, and the petals burn out. In addition, in sunny places, the general flowering period is shorter than in partial shade, although vines bloom earlier. Therefore, for princes it is better to choose shady or partial shady places. It is also important that the plantings are located in places protected from strong winds, otherwise fragile stems and flowers may suffer from gusts of wind.
Most varieties and hybrids of princes are winter-hardy enough and belong to 3 (up to -40 ° С) or 4 zones (up to -34 ° С) and they do not need any shelter for the winter. It is also impossible to cut the stems in the fall, since in the spring flowering will begin on last year's stems. If necessary, sanitary or forming pruning is carried out after the completion of the first flowering wave.
Regularly watering the vines is necessary only in the first year after planting, then their long deep roots themselves will be able to extract water from the deep layers of the soil. Adult princes are watered only during a drought. These plants can do without additional fertilizing, however, to obtain larger flowers, they can be fertilized with complex fertilizer during budding.
Princes in the design of the garden
Princes are ideal as a vertical component of shadow flower beds. In this case, vines can be used to create a background, as they perfectly mask any fence, and their carved green foliage will be an excellent background for other plants.
Since the princes respond well to the shading of the root zone, at the foot of the vines can be placed shade-tolerant perennials with large foliage (hosts, brunners, buzulnik, incense, etc.).
The princes are no less good for decorating the trunks of old trees and snags. Sometimes the vine is grown as a groundcover, in which case it will be especially effective if the flowering stems fall from the retaining walls. Often princes are also used to decorate the northern wall of a house or to hide a barn and other outbuildings from their eyes.