These fabulous, yet unusual clematis are classed as herbaceous sub-shrubs as their growth is so very different from the rest of the genus Clematis. 'Cassandra', 'Wyevale' and stans, have erect woody stems and produce clusters of hyacinth shaped flowers. 'Praecox' produces star-like flowers with recurved tips and woody scrambling stems.
The heracleifolia originate from Eastern China and Korea where the winters are colder and summers hotter than we experience here in the UK.
The plant has adapted leaves that hang on to the stems during the autumn instead of dropping off and this means they hinge down from the leaf axils creating a teepee like shape over the crown of the plant. In their native habitat this would then often be covered be a layer of snow during the winter creating an insulating barrier for the plant until the spring thaw, when the leaf and stem would have rotted through and created a mulch which the new shoots would push up through during the spring.
Tips for the Heracleifolia.
These make excellent plants for the border, they are easy to grow and bloom over a long period. This group of plants flower and perform better in sunny free draining conditions.
Leave pruning until mid-spring(April) when the weather has improved. Do NOT prune these hard in autumn or winter when tidying other herbaceous plants as the Heracleifolia Group over-winter better with the old growth left intact.