Sporting impressive 6″-8″ lavender-pink flowers, the large-flowered hybrid clematis Nelly Moser is an old garden favorite.
There are three primary issues related to clematis in general and Nelly Moser specifically that every gardener should know:
- Clematis Nelly Moser can handle sun or partial shade in the garden, but a good growing spot is a sunny exposure for the foliage and shade for the roots. A perfect growing spot would be full sun early and then shade in the hottest part of the day into the evening. The flowers will last longer. Nelly Moser, in particular, has flowers that will fade badly in direct sun. Clematis will flower best in sunny locations, but the roots like it cool, dark, and moist. Thick mulch (2″-3″) is recommended to protect the roots. I prefer to plant perennials or shrubs to protect the lower portions of the clematis.
- Know whether flowers are borne on new wood (this year’s growth) or old wood (last year’s growth). Nelly Moser blooms on both old and new wood, so if you must prune (I recommend against it) do so immediately after flowering. If you choose to prune Nelly Moser in late summer or fall or winter then accept that flowers will be sparse or non-existent the following season.
- Clematis, like many vines, are deliberate growers in the beginning. The old saw ‘the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, the third year they leap’ is accurate. Nelly Moser may seemingly hang around in the garden the first year or two doing very little at all. In reality, vines must first develop strong root systems for stability and to feed the growth of following years.
Nelly Moser clematis is hardy zones 4-8, and once established is easy to grow.
I have never lost a clematis that made it through the first year alive.
Nelly Moser grows six to ten feet and is certainly not a rampant grower when compared to cousins sweet autumn or Armandii clematis. Every spring Nelly Moser lazily sprouts large blooms that eventually open to a pale pink or lavender. The large-flowered hybrid clematis always look so frail in the garden to my eyes, their slender vines curling slowly towards the sun. They are not frail at all.
Only if you have well-draining soil, plant Nelly Moser clematis 3″ deeper than the existing soil surface to provide more stability and get the roots lower.
Oakleaf hydrangeas, azaleas, and rhododendrons will die miserably if planted too deeply. If you have poorly drained garden soil or heavy clay, do not pull this stunt…plant at soil level and mulch well (working to improve soil drainage would be my recommendation).
As with most plants, lots of organic matter worked into the soil will benefit Nelly Moser clematis immensely. Not only will Nelly Moser appreciate the nutrients, you may save your plant’s life, as clematis will die if subjected to poorly draining clay soils.
Finally, Nelly Moser’s first and most impressive bloom occurs in spring, but occasional flowers will be produced throughout the season.
More information about Nelly Moser clematis can be found at the always reliable Missouri Botanical Garden website.