Daily Flower Candy: Clematis “Étoile Violette” AGM

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The only plant of any value that came with the purchase of Polegate Cottage was a clematis. Squeezed into an impossibly tight gap between paving slabs it scrambles over a wrought iron arch above the garden gate. It has withstood all the builders’ toings and froings and is now covered in a rude quantity of rich, velvety flowers. The clematis in question, like C. “Madame Julia Correvon”, is a viticella type with an RHS Awards of Garden Merit, and is called C. “Étoile Violette”. Both clematis were bred by Francisque Morel of Lyon in the early 1900s and remain amongst the most popular varieties in cultivation today.


Clematis "Etoile Violette", Polegate Cottage, July 2016


Contrary to my photographs, the flowers of C. “Étoile Violette” are a particularly dark, inky purple and not flushed with magenta. Their true, regal colour is just about visible in the flowers at the very top of the image below. The dark flowers with their pale yellow stamens contrast wonderfully with excellent, blemish-free foliage. It may be the sea air, but I have never experienced powdery mildew with this particular variety, which is also resistant to clematis wilt. C. “Étoile Violette” flowers from July to September on the current season’s growth, which means it needs pruning hard to 8″ – 10″ above ground at the end of winter. Apart from providing a climbing frame, no other maintenance is needed. The flowers are on the small side compared to some earlier flowering clematis, but are borne in such profusion that very little foliage is visible during the first flush. A well established plant might climb to a height of 10′ – 12′ but will never become rampant as some clematis can.


Clematis "Etoile Violette", Polegate Cottage, July 2016


Plant C. “Étoile Violette” where it can scramble through shrubs that flower in early summer (philadelphus for example) to prolong the season, through a hedge, or up a well-lit wall amongst yellow, pink or white-flowered roses. This versatile climber is worthy of the recommendation that if you only have space for one clematis, C. “Étoile Violette” could be your very best choice.

Clematis “Étoile Violette” is available from Taylor’s Clematis , Crocus.co.uk and good garden centres nationwide.


Clematis "Etoile Violette", Polegate Cottage, July 2016


Categories: Climbers, Daily Flower Candy, Flowers, Foliage, Photography, Plants

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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14 comments On "Daily Flower Candy: Clematis “Étoile Violette” AGM"

  1. Gorgeous flower! I wonder if it would survive in SoCal? The pistons remind me of passion fruit flowers a little. How does it do in the hot sun? My climate is Mediterranean or zone 9 if that helps.

    By the way, I switched over to a self hosted site and I lost all my WordPress subscribers! I think you were subscribed to Mind Your Dirt, would you mind to kindly re-subscribe so I’m not so lonely anymore 🙁

    1. True beautiful purple flowers. No wonder it was the “princes of Vatican” robe colour ;). I would love to grow this one, however, I am in Western Australia, just 20 km north of the centre of Perth, right on the coast, to warm for clematis, hot, long dry summers and wet, short, cool winters. I have tried to grow other varieties, they did not survive. This should answer your question James.

      1. You are right Barbara. The reason we are enjoying such a good display this year is that we had a very cool, wet spring, which clematis need. They must at the least have their feet in shade and their toes in cool soil. Hot summers and short winters don’t suit them at all sadly.

    2. Hi James. I checked very quickly and it looks like I am still following (there is a post about Twynings from a couple of days ago?) but I might not be looking at the right thing. I will check properly and, of course, resubscribe!

      Sadly I think a clematis would wither and die in your climate. They like cool, damp conditions so I’d steer clear and grow something sub tropical instead.

  2. It was Taylors, but yes! Glad to still have you aboard. Taylors contacted me after a post I did about making my own bee hotel. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of them before. But I did my research and now I’m itching to try their Earl Grey. Do you vouch for their teas? I do love a good EG!

    Thanks to you and Barbara for confirming my suspicions. I figured as much and will go retire to my succulents and citrus trees 🙁 The grass is always greener on the other side of the pond…

    Cheers to both of you!

  3. As much as I love them, there’s just no hope trying to grow them here in a hot dry part of Oz.
    Have a great memory of a B &B in Scotland many, many years ago that had a fabulous clematis at the front door and a very mouldy, aged, tea making machine on the bed side table.

    1. Euughh! Sadly that does not surprise me Anne, although I think you’d find the standard of B&Bs has improved since then! You try growing Eucalyptus citriodora here in England. It’s a labour of love!

  4. I used to have a huge and beautiful C. ‘Etoile Violette’ which came from Beamish Clematis Nursery in Co. Durham, now sadly closed. It never mattered how hard the winter, how hard I cut it back each spring or how hot the summer, it grew huge and flowered prolifically every year. Now I am just waiting for Mr TT to get some trellis sorted and having seen your beautiful photos I think I will be getting another one.

  5. I grew my clematis through terracotta chimney liners, I filled to the top twice a week with dilute Tomarite, then threw in a few slug pellets to keep the snails from chewing the stems. We had very free draining soil and this seemed to work.

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