If you need a liana, unpretentious and beautiful, pay attention to the princes. The princes are the closest relatives of clematis. In our country, they are allocated to a separate Atragene group, and in the international classification they are still called clematis.
What are princes and how do they differ from clematis? Princes are shrub vines 2-4 meters high, blooming in early spring. Clematis are just emerging from the ground, and the princes are already preparing to bloom. The flowering of princes in the spring on the shoots of last year is abundant, lasts almost 3 weeks, a weak re-flowering on the shoots of the current year occurs at the end of summer.
The prince, like a steadfast tin soldier, is always in the ranks. In spring, the vine gives charming flowers. After flowering, beautiful silvery swirling curls of fluffy fruits appear. The liana does not need to be removed from the support for the winter, it is not cut off or covered.
Of the species princelings, the first to bloom is the Alpine prince, then the Okhotsk, and then the Siberian. Having planted all three species, you can get a "long-lasting" color composition for more than a month and a half.
Varieties of princes
Today's variety of varieties allows us to say that the flowers of the princes are no less attractive than the flowers of clematis. The flowers of the princes are mainly drooping bells with small petals, bordered by larger sepals. Flowers can be decorated with underdeveloped stamens - staminodes. If the staminodes are shorter than the sepals, the flowers are called semi-double or double. And clematis has open flowers, there are no petals at all, we call colored sepals petals.
It is not for nothing that they began to engage in breeding clematis in Canada and Sweden, in countries with cold climates. And only recently, new varieties of princes began to appear in Germany and Poland. The modern varieties of the princes of the Polish breeder Szczepan Marczynski are especially good. His goal was to obtain frost-resistant varieties blooming in early spring, with interesting flowers - double, large, variably colored. And he achieved his goal, his varieties are able to decorate any garden and compete with clematis. In search of a yellow color, he managed to obtain varieties with delicate lemon flowers - these are the varieties "Lemon Beauty" and "Lemon Dream".
- Lemon Beauty has simple, light lemon flowers, greenish at the beginning of flowering, whitish in full bloom, on contrasting purple pedicels. The first abundant bloom in May, a weak repeated bloom in summer. Liana reaches a height of 2-3 m.
And "Lemon Dream" is really a variety that you can only dream of - the flowers are large (up to 10 cm), this size of flowers is not typical for princes, double, delicate lemon color, greenish at first, brightening as it blooms, with a pleasant grapefruit scent.
The Pink Dream variety is no less beautiful. The flowers are always double with wavy edges, pink on the outside, with a darker purple color at the base of the flower, light pink on the inside. Liana blooms profusely in May and less abundantly in summer. Reaches a height of 2-3 m.
Pink Swing is a two-color variety. Large double flowers are bright pink-cream on the outside, and light cream on the inside. The aroma is pleasant, grapefruit.
But the most beautiful variety "Purple Dream" is really a purple dream with large double flowers (up to 10 cm), pointed petals are intricately twisted, on the outside they are purple, and on the inside - light pink.
Dutch breeder Hans Stolwijk in 2006 bred an unusual variety with golden yellow leaves, against which dark purple bells stand out.
In general, the color of the flowers of the princes today is very diverse, there are many varieties with white, pink, purple, blue, violet and lilac petals. My favorite variety is Blue Princess. In spring, a blue sky appears over the pergola.
Before the appearance of the Marchinsky varieties, there was only one cream-colored prince in yellow - the Pointy variety from the Korean prince, its petals are cream-colored, 5-6 cm long, with numerous brownish-purple dots and picturesque wavy edges. The middle of the flower is filled with numerous light yellow stamens.
Cultivation of princes
In the spring, the prince begins to vegetate when the soil thaws to the desired depth. The bark of the princes is smooth, shiny, buds from large buds develop faster than leaves. From the buds in May, flowers appear that adorn the liana. Until late autumn, the entire liana is no less decorative than during flowering, thanks to the fluffy silvery seed balls.
For good growth, princes need slightly acidic and fertile soil.
Planting is best done in spring. For planting, you need to choose a suitable place - do not forget that in the sun, flowering begins earlier and will be more abundant, but the flowering period itself is shortened, compared to the flowering time of the vine in partial shade. The liana needs to be actively watered only in hot weather, at other times the deep, vertically located roots get water on their own. The soil should not dry out, this is bad for the flowering of the next year. Therefore, mulching will be useful not only for retaining moisture, but also for feeding the vines, especially if nutrients such as rotted manure, compost or vermicompost are used for mulching. The mulch layer should be thick enough, loose and nutritious. Good watering is recommended before winter, especially if the fall was dry.
Over time, the old shoots lignify and turn into powerful vines with thick bark, the bases of the shoots become bare and the flowering weakens. To rejuvenate the vine after flowering, half of the old shoots are shortened to 10 cm. The second half of the shoots is rejuvenated the next year. From the dormant buds of rejuvenated shoots, new young shoots grow in the spring, which bloom the next year. Shoot rejuvenation is recommended after 4-5 years.
Reproduction of princes
The reproduction of princes is not difficult. They are propagated in the usual ways: by sowing seeds, dividing bushes, cuttings and rooting of cuttings.
Seeds are propagated only by species of princes. The seeds ripen at the end of August, the seed balls are disassembled into separate fruits and sown immediately. During the winter, the seeds undergo stratification, and friendly shoots appear in the spring. Seedlings bloom in 2 years. Sown purchased seeds need to be stratified for at least 2 months, this can be done on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator or in the garden under the snow. Seed germination lasts 2 years.
High-quality princes propagate only vegetatively: by dividing the bush, cuttings, layering. Dividing a bush is a very time-consuming process and not the best way to reproduce, adult princes painfully tolerate a transplant. In the spring, before the beginning of the growing season, or in the fall, in the second half of September, the shoots are cut off from the bush to a height of up to 30 cm, dug up and divided. A good cut should have several shoots, developed roots and renewal buds. The cuttings planted in the ground are sheltered for the winter.
Cutting is a simple and easy way to get new plants. It is best to carry out this process in the second half of June. The middle part of the green shoots is taken on the cuttings, they should have a couple of internodes and be 3-6 cm in size. Before rooting, the cuttings should be treated with root formation stimulants. The highest percentage of rooting is obtained under artificial fog conditions, similar conditions can be obtained if the cuttings are placed under plastic cans and sprayed with a fine spray 5-6 times a day. After rooting during the season, they need to be watered and fed with diluted fertilizer solutions. After a year, you can already land on a permanent place.
When rooting by layering, a groove is dug with a depth of 5-10 cm and a length corresponding to the length of the rooted shoots. The groove is filled with fertile soil, the leaves are carefully removed from the selected shoot, the shoot is bent down and placed in the groove, pinning in the places of internodes. They are covered with earth, while the top of the shoot should look up and remain uncovered. During the season, the shoot is looked after, watered, not allowing it to dry out. After a year, the rooted layers are separated from the mother plant by cutting them into separate divisions between the nodes. The young plants obtained in this way bloom the next year.
The use of princes
In the German clematis nursery F.M. Westphal can be seen in a variety of uses in the garden. They are used to decorate hedges, house facades, and can also be run along stairs or balconies. They twist beautifully along the trunks of old trees and conifers.
The princes are very flexible in design. In your garden, you can grow them like a classic liana on wooden trellises, arches and pergolas. It can also be used to create dense carpets on rocks or slopes. The combined use of various varieties and types of princes allows you to create beautiful blooming compositions of the same appearance, but with different flowering periods and different colors.
There is another interesting use of princes. Princes, like other representatives of the buttercup family, are poisonous plants. Due to its poisonous properties, the prince can serve as an insecticide: its water or alcohol infusion, as well as a decoction of dry leaves, have a detrimental effect on ants, bedbugs, lice and other insects.
Plant princes, they are adorable and useful, and no worse than clematis.
We are grateful to Shcepan Marchinsky for the provided photographic materials.