A peeling clematis

The north facing wall of the cottage at Genus HQ has a number of climbers but in autumn the ‘orange peel’ clematis ‘Bill MacKenzie’ shines a light into this shadier corner.

Orange peel clematis are a confusing bunch, seemingly coming from various species within the genera.  Our ‘Bill MacKenzie’ is claimed by some to be from the orientalis species but our battered Plant Finder - the bible for anyone interested in plants - suggests this is missaplied and we should use Clematis tibetana subspecies vernayi.

Others like ‘Helios’ or ‘Lambton Park’ are forms of Clematis tangutica and don’t even ask about Clematis tibetana ‘Orange Peel’ which until recently was Clematis tibetana subspecies vernayi var. vernayi ‘Orange Peel’.  (You can take a breath now!!)

Confused?  Don’t be.  Whatever the family tree these stunning late season performers are characterised by their appealingly thick long lasting petals that, as the name suggests, resemble orange or lemon peel.  A further bonus are the silky seed heads that last well into winter.

We won’t confuse you with pruning groups; simply cut this one to the ground in the spring (or even earlier like we did last year) and the new growth will start to appear in March or April reaching over 10 feet by flowering time.  Simple wire supports are all it requires.