Clematis brachiata

Water Needs

low; moderate water wise

Clematis brachiata
Climber scrambler
Traveller’s Joy, Wild Clematis, Klimop and Lemoenbloeisels, Umdlonzo (Z)

up to 5 m

Size

Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade

Frost

hardy

Flowers

cream-white February to May; summer autumn

sun; semi-shade; container; pergola; sandy soils; wildlife bees butterflies insects birds

Garden Situation

Habitat

bushveld; grassland; fynbos; coastal eastern cape; woodland forest

Region

thicket; highveld; subtropical east coast; bushveld savanna; western cape;

Rain Season

summer winter

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Description

Fragrant and quite stunning our indigenous Clematis is every bit as gorgeous as the exotic hybrids. February sees the sweetly fragranced cream flowers, arguably the most beautiful of our climbers, spill from tree canopies and wild shrubberies throughout the country. Perhaps not as well- known as the highly ornamental and famous hybrids grown in Europe, but our indigenous original is just as beautiful and quite easy to grow and maintain. With an extensive distribution around the country, this versatile deciduous climber can be used in just about any garden. In flower from February to May, the Clematis is one of the most rewarding of our creepers with an abundance of creamy white petals and fluffy yellow centres completely obscuring the foliage. Flowers are followed by seeds that are as decorative in their own right from May through to August. Seeds are wind dispersed and as such have very light silky tails that enable them to float away on even the softest breeze. Within the garden: Clematis brachtiata can clamber up as much as 5 m so needs strong support, either a tree, dense thicket over which it can scramble as it does in the wild or the standard pergola, trellis or fence. It also does well if left to scramble down a slope as a groundcover. The plant prefers having its roots in the shade from where the foliage searches out the bright sun. This is simple enough to do: place a paving stone or group of rocks around the roots. Traveller’s Joy is moderately frost hardy, but if it is damaged by severe frost wait until the temperatures warm up before pruning right back, and it will soon send up new shoots in spring. A light prune at the end of winter will encourage fresh growth and a more compact form. Large specimens growing up trees and over large shrubs will have to let nature takes it course! Mix it with other lighter creepers that flower at different times for an extended flowering display – choose one indigenous to your area. To make the most of its wonderfully sweet fragrance plant a Traveller’s Joy close to the evening patio or intermingle it in a shrubbery around the fire pit at the bottom of the garden – a great way to entice friends and family into far reaches of your indigenous garden rather than simply viewing it from the tame sanctity of the patio! Most gardeners will be satisfied with only one of these large creepers, but they can be propagated via seed sown in spring or from cuttings taken through summer. It is said to possess wonderful medicinal properties and plants were used by travellers’ long ago to ease the difficulties of a long journey. Habitat and Distribution: Occurring in most provinces and at altitudes from sea-level to the upper reaches of the Drakensberg, C. brachiata is drought resistant, frost hardy (although probably doesn’t do as well at temperatures below -7OC) and happy in summer and winter rainfall regions – indicative of its very wide natural range. A part of the Buttercup family (Ranunculaceae)

Clematis brachiata
Clematis brachiata