Plants - Vines and Groundcovers

Plant non-climbing clematis

These scrambling or clumping perennials add punch to any border

The lush foliage of non-climbing clematis looks exceptionally attractive weaving through boldly coloured late-summer- or fall-blooming perennials such as false sunflower, tall garden phlox, early asters and ornamental goldenrods. Complementary flower combinations are also striking, especially the blue or pink summer-long blooms of solitary clematis cultivars paired with purple-leafed plants such as ‘Brunette’ and ‘Chocolate’ snakeroots (Actaea syn. Cimicifuga ‘Brunette’ and ‘Chocolate’) and various heucheras.

Sprawling forms of clematis look lovely growing through “living supports” such as Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) and small shrubs. They can also extend the blooming season when grown with spring-flowering azaleas and rhododendrons. And, their long flowering period and attractive seed pods make non-climbing clematis charming companions for compact shrub and groundcover roses, where they easily fill in gaps during the season.

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Hungarian bear’s breeches (Acanthus hungaricus)

Zone 5
Height, 90 cm to 1.2 m; spread, 75 to 90 cm
Description: Spiny, olive green leaves with distinctive upright spikes of light pink, hooded blooms from mid- to late summer
Design advantage: its bold, architectural form is softened by the contrasting uniform foliage of clematis 

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Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Zone 3
Height, 75 cm to 1 m; spread, 45 to 60 cm
Description: Upright, native perennial with attractive, drooping, mauve to rose pink petals and bronzy brown cone; blooms from midsummer through fall
Design advantage: The low, informal nature of many non-climbing clematis types is a perfect foil for the upright, sentry-like form of coneflowers

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Red hot poker (Kniphofia cvs.)
Zone 5
Height, 75 cm to 1 m; spread, 45 to 60 cm
Description: Grasslike foliage topped with showy flower spikes in yellow, orange or red (some cultivars exhibit all three from early summer to early fall)
Design advantage: Paired with non-climbing clematis, these extreme contrasts of form, texture and colour are striking

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‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’)
Zone 3
Height, 60 to 75 cm; spread, 45 to 60 cm
Description: Upright, bushy plant produces yellow-orange, daisy-like flowers from midsummer to fall
Design advantage: The colour contrast between the blue-mauve blooms of many non-climbing clematis and the yellow-orange flowers of ‘Goldsturm’ create high drama

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