Clematis are among the most decorative and spectacular of all the flowering vines. They are a varied group of mostly woody, deciduous vines; however, Armand clematis (Clematis armandii) is an evergreen vine, named after Armand David (1826-1900), a French missionary, botanist and zoologist who collected this specimen in China in 1870.
Armand clematis is prized for its early springtime flurry of white flowers. Each flower, comprised of 4 to 7 sepals, is only 2 inches wide, but since they mostly open all at once, they create the illusion of freshly fallen snow. In the summer cosmic-looking fruit pods develop – each one adorned with long, silky antennae-like hairs that are more curious than attractive.
Throughout the year Armand clematis bears handsome, leathery lance-shaped leaves that maintain their green color throughout the winter. All clematis like to be grown with "their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade," and Armand is no exception. Keep the roots cool and its twining stems in the sun – at least 6 hours of sun to flower best, but in the Carolinas provide some shade in the afternoon.
Armand clematis uses its twining stems and clasping petioles to climb on vertical structures. This vigorous vine can spread a distance of 15 to 30 ft., which makes it suitable for growing on arbors and chain-link fences, transforming them into multidimensional displays of color and fragrance. The evergreen leaves of Armand clematis offer the added bonus of privacy from inquisitive neighbors.