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Plant Profile: Fremont’s Leather Flower (Clematis fremontii)

This small non-climbing shrubby clematis has a long season of interesting beginning with attractive green leathery foliage in spring. In late spring nodding bell-shaped purple to white flowers appear singly on slender stems and are followed in the fall by fuzzy-looking seed heads that turn brown and persist into winter. Plants form dense clumps and are useful in rock gardens, native plant gardens, prairies, meadows, or at the front of a border. Fremont’s leather flower is native to opens woods and plains in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Purple to white, nodding, bell-shaped flowers with reflexed sepals are borne singly on slender stems in mid- to late spring; attractive seed heads consisting of achenes with long curled styles.

Foliage: Leathery green leaves are alternate, simple, sessile, broadly ovate and up to 5” long.

Size: 12-18” H x 8-12” W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Average, most, well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline; tolerates lean soil and is moderately drought tolerant once established.

Hardiness: Zones 4-7

Care: Cut old stems to the ground before new growth appears.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed after three month cold-moist stratification period; seeds are slow to germinate.

Companion plants: False indigo (Baptisia alba, B. australius), pasque flower(Anemone patens), prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), shining blue star (Amsonia illustris), dew flower (Penstemon cobaea), rose vervain (Glandularia canadensis).

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