Clematis plants in containers

Hi everyone

I'm having difficulty buying a reasonably priced container that is big enough to plant a clematis plant in it.  I wanted to plant 2 clematis in an L shape i.e. corner in two big troughs but I can't find any that are reasonably priced (£20 or under) and also sized so that I can fit both in the L shape.   Is there a recycled item that I haven't thought of that would be good?

What are the consequences of a clematis not having enough room for its roots?  Will it stunt the climbing height or will it affect the flowers?



  • cairnsiecairnsie Posts: 389

    Depends what clematis your going to put in but really if you can I would use deep pots or they just wont do very well and it wont be worthwhile. Can you not make your own up out of old decking or something like that. I would use patio clematis also. 

  • Mrs GMrs G Posts: 336

    You'll probably need to protect it in winter as well I would have thought unless it's in a very sheltered location, probably by wrapping the container in bubble wrap.  I had one in a large plastic pot once and the first winter killed it.  Wood or terracotta would be a better insulator.

  • CharleyDCharleyD Posts: 440

    Thanks!  Mike - are the containers you got from B &Q about 13" deep and 17" wide?  I got some of those today but thought maybe they weren't deep enough.  Do you think they would be?

    The clematis that I've chosen are suitable for containers.  Mrs G, that's a good point.  I do have plenty of colourful blue and pink bubblewrap!

    A friend where I live (on the Isle of Man) has just found a couple of Belfast sinks for sale.  What do you reckon?  (If I can lift them that is image )




  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,918

    I think the containers shouldn't really be less than 15" deep, mine are about 18", but I'm afraid they cost over £40. When I grew one in a smaller pot it died after 2 years. So making one would probably be your best bet. Clematis are quite greedy feeders.

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 7,110

    I have patio clematis in containers that seem quite happy 4 years on.  I put slow release fertiliser pellets in every year, and the insides of the pots were lined with bubble wrap to stop the roots getting too hot/cold.  I think the varieties are Abilene, Ernest Markham and some type of Countess (Nemours?)

    The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones ......
  • CharleyDCharleyD Posts: 440

    Ok, thanks for your help everyone.  Looks like I'm sorted.  Mike - what sort of climbing roses do you have in your containers?


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Charley I bought some large resin pots from B&Q last year which were £15 each - they had an offer on at the time so it was 3 for the price of 2. They look like terracotta and I have apple trees planted in two of them at the moment. I also bought a big terracotta pot - a plain one - from Homebase for about  a tenner. It's about 18" diameter. I'll find a couple of pix to give you an idea of size. image

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Pix as stated of the resin pot - you can get an idea of size from the other things around it. In the 1st pic it's the one with the Ligularia in it (large purple foliage) The 2nd one has emerging crocus in it but has primulas and robins in front of it. image



  • Sadly, my clematis in pots have always been rubbish despite large pots, good compost and gravel on top to protect the roots!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    They need a lot of attention in pots Steve as they're hungry plants. They're far better in the ground but if there's no alternative, you can grow them reasonably well in a decent sized pot, and there are varieties specifically meant for container growing. I grew one last year up the railings on my back steps as I'd just moved and there were no places to plant anything really. It wasn't a huge pot - about 12" and there were sweet peas in it as well.  It'll be going into a permanent border this year though! image

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    you can now buy  them for small pots and hanging baskets,I have not seen them myself but have read they are available .

  • Clematis really don't like growing in containers they are much happier in the ground. I know plastic dustbins are not that pretty but they are cheap and plenty deep, hope that helps. Linda from Wales.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 11,918

    I have a dustbin pot which I painted with thick render sort of paint in two mixed colours, sort of beige and cream to look like limestone. Forgot that in above answer, bin was cheap, paint was in cupboard, left over.

  • CharleyDCharleyD Posts: 440

    Ok, this is proving a very difficult decision.  From your replies, it doesn't sound as if clematis are that happy in containers and given the fact that I've found it so difficult to get the right depth of container anyway, and now I'm wondering even if the soil part of the plan is deep enough for clematis.

    Mike, your mention of quick thick cover and roses has made me think.  For some reason, I didn't think I could get climbing roses to grow in containers (pls forgive my ignorance).  I wanted roses in this area in the first place and removed a big old neglected honeysuck bush thinking that there was all soil underneath it, only to find a big slab of concrete for half of the area, hence resorting to a container. 

    I would really appreciate some recommendations.  It is a shady area, may be lucky if it gets a couple of hours sun in the morning but it's a very bright area albeit not a lot of sun.  It's an L shape and there are concrete walls/trellis work for them to grow on. 

    I like what I call a "proper" old fashioned rose shape - not the ones that look like ranunculus or the single petal ones.  Ideally I would like deep red, tangerine/peach and possibly one of those gorgeous pale lilacs. 

    I've found a huge tub at B&Q for £12 - I'm talking probably 70cm wide and 50cm deep which would house 2 of the roses and 1 would go in the soil.  I've got wire ready to go on the concrete bits. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Charley that would be fine for a Clematis. Don't be put off by what we've said about having them in pots. It's just that they thrive better in the ground, which makes it easier to maintain them. As long as you give them enough food and water you can grow Clematis successfully in a pot that size. I was constructing raised beds last year so I had three of them in pots from about May. I mentioned one already, but I had an Etoile Violette in a 12" plastic pot  which grew well and  flowered all summer. I just had to be vigilant - especially with watering - but I had other plants in pots shading it's roots which helped enormously. Here's a pic -you can see there's plenty of buds. It had only been in the pot a short while and made plenty of growth :




  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    I put 2 patio clematis in 2 large pots last year; they were not very impressive, hopefully they will do better this year. I will be feeding them tomato food.

  • Jean GenieJean Genie Posts: 1,724

    I have several clematis growing in pots, Mine seem to do well. image

    This is Crystal Fountain last year,


     I've underplanted it with violets and top dress it every Spring. Other than feeding, no special treatment, image


  • CharleyDCharleyD Posts: 440

    Oooh, the Clematis are so lovely. Thanks for posting all the photos.  I've made up my mind.  I'm going to try two clematis in the big pot and a climbing rose in the soil because I don't think the soil is deep enough to cope with the clematis.  Kind of a complete reverse in my thinking but thanks to you all here, I think that will be the best idea. I will have some partial shade herbs in pots that may do well at the bottom of the clematis pot and protect the roots at the same time.

    It does prove all over again, that nothing beats experience in gardening.  Thank you all for your patience and help. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    Charley - nothing ventured image

    Take a look at Taylor's Clematis site. You'll get loads of ideas for your particular aspect and the time of year you want flowers. A word of warning though - Clematis can be very addicitive! image

    Lovely pic JGenie. Nice choice for underneath  image

  • I have planted New Dawn on a north facing wall before and they did very well. They are a nicely scented pale pink flower. Not single but not full like David Austins - which I love. A good rose for difficult places.

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