New clematis appear every year – but recently some especially impressive introductions have been developed, with a number of creative European breeders bringing us some stunning new plants. One of the most dramatic of the latest arrivals is Astra Nova (‘Zo09085’).
This is a Viticella type clematis, which means that pruning couldn’t be easier: simply cut it back hard in spring, about now, as the fat new buds start to swell. It’s as easy as that.
This is one of the most flamboyant clematis you’ll see, although it's not particularly vigorous, reaching 1.8-2.4m (6-8ft). The flowers are relatively small, about 7.5cm (3in) across, but their colouring is dramatic: each petal is vivid violet purple with a bright white stripe along the middle, creating an unmissable contrast. In the centre, the boss of stamens is mix of purple and white. But there’s a little more to it than that: the flowers are actually semi-double as each has a few short wispy petals around the centre.
Astra Nova was developed by J van Zoest at Boskoop in the Netherlands. Details of the two parent plants have not been revealed, but the cross was made in 2006. This plant was chosen from the seedlings in 2009 and now, after five years of trials and bulking up stocks, it’s at last available.
Happy growing on walls or fences of any aspect, Astra Nova is also ideal climbing through a spring-flowering shrub, such as a forsythia, to bring summer colour to what would otherwise be an uninteresting summer scene.
You can order Clematis Astra Nova (‘Zo09085’) from Thorncroft Clematis.
** Please note the contents of this blog reflect the views of its author and are not necessarily those of the RHS **