Clematis Jackmanii Superba. The RHS description is as follows: Clematis can be deciduous or evergreen shrubs or herbaceous perennials, mostly climbing by twining leaf-stalks, and often with showy flowers. Some have attractive fluffy seedheads in autumn.
That amazing purple colour shows that the flower has the chemical pigment anthocyanins. Not too dissimilar to the better no carotenoids, found in carrots and tomatoes. It must be noted that this plant should not be ingested, consume only with your eyes.
The Clematis is thought to be of Chinese and Japanese origin. And it was the introduction of ‘Jackmanii’ in 1862 that spearheaded the popularity of the genus. There’s more detail on wild clematis in this in depth post by Easy Wildflowers.
As with most Clematis, the Jackmanii Superba is fairly robust. It can handle full sun to partial shade, a range of soil types including clay or sand. Even the soil acidity isn’t too much of a big deal. Keep it well watered and well drained, and you’ll find this is a pretty hardy vine. Generally advice is to cut back, I should say prune, in late winter or early spring. I’ve made a calendar reminder for February. You can be quite brutal, from the sounds of it, taking it all the way down to about 20cm off the ground.
This climber was bought about three weeks ago. He just started flowering this week (late June). The depth of purple is exceptional, there’s certainly nothing in our garden that I could compare it to. I’m struggling to think of a comparison outside of our garden either. The petals are so thin and delicate. It’s truly beautiful and seemingly requires little nurturing.
We have Jack in a pot, with a good size hole in the bottom so that there’s decent drainage. I’m pretty sure we’ve not got him in ideal soil, we literally just used leftover compost we had from a plastic sack in the garden. Despite our clumsy approach, he’s doing well.
I bought Jack quite by accident. At the time I was after flowers that produce a pleasant scent. The sweet autumn clematis (clematis terniflora) came up as one of the most fragrant flowers. In my naivety I assumed all clematis would give off a similarly sweet smell. Clematis Jackmanii Superba is entirely without fragrance. Despite my error, I’ve no regrets with this purchase. In fact, I would happily recommend him to any gardener, skilled or otherwise.