x-Clematis 'Princess of Wales'
Also sometimes known as 'Princess Diana', this is a wonderful clematis with small, simple, tulip-shaped flowers in a bright, lively candy-pink. They appear in mid-summer, lasting until the autumn, have prominent creamy centres and are nestled amongst mid-green leaves.
Fully hardy plants thrive in both semi shade and sun, in fact, some shade will help to prevent the flowers from fading, and they are happiest in a fertile well drained soil. Plant 'Princess of Wales' in the early autumn, rather than spring, to allow it time to establish a little before the winter, water well before planting and dig a generous sized hole that is bigger than the root ball. Scatter fertiliser such as blood, fish and bone, or bonemeal at the bottom of the hole and plant the clematis deeply, burying its stem a good six cm lower than it was in the pot it came in.
Like all clematis it likes having cool roots so grow it close to other plants to help keep the roots in shade. Keep it well watered in the first year and give it a mulch in winter with well rotted garden compost, taking care to keep it away from the base of the plant.
Clematis pruning can be confusing but these late flowering types are the easiest of all to look after– simply cut back all the stems to a pair of strong healthy buds 20cm above the soil surface. Do this before growth begins again in the spring and they will produce flowers on this fresh, young growth later on in the summer. If you don't cut them back each year, they will still flower, but the blooms will only be on the new growth at the top and tricky to enjoy.
Unlike some of its siblings in the same group, 'Princess of Wales' doesn't suffer from powdery mildew and as these plants are cut right back every year, they never get out of hand. They are perfect grown through and over other plants, such as evergreen shrubs or yew hedges and look magical twining and scrambling through trees or amongst roses. It also makes a striking feature in a container climbing a decorative obelisk, with other clematis or climbing plants.