clematis ‘roguchi,’ summer-into-september star

clematis roguchi 2
YOU’D THINK WITH SO MUCH WIND AND RAIN that the high-fliers of the garden—the vines—would have been knocked off their pedestals quite literally. Somehow in spite of it all, vines like Clematis ‘Roguchi’ have managed to hold their ground—er, airspace. A look at one somewhat upwardly mobile hero of the sodden September garden.

I don’t know why I waited so long to add Clematis ‘Roguchi’ to my garden, but I finally did so a couple of years ago, and then bought another plant this spring. (It’s also found as ‘Rooguchi’ in various catalogs, and don’t ask me which is correct. What everyone agrees upon: it’s one of the best small-flowered clematis there is.)  I quickly learned that it is long-blooming—in North Carolina, Tony Avent of Plant Delights Nursery says May through September; for me, it starts a little later but goes all summer long, and into fall.

clematis roguchi with bee
To the delight of me and the bees, who love to crawl inside its spectacular 2-inch purple bells, it just keeps on producing.

Clematis ‘Roguchi’ performs like a herbaceous perennial—it’s more of a scamperer than a climber, and it doesn’t become some crushing woody vine. Because of that neighborly demeanor, it’s beautiful when scrambling up and into a shrub nearby—think rose, or Japanese maple, for instance—or weaving through other perennials closer to ground level (those leaves in the photo are Geranium macrorrhizum; it’s kind of weaving in and out of a mound of them in my front yard). You can help it to hold on to a tripod or trellis, if you prefer. Whatever the choice, this hybrid of Clematis integrifolia reaches about 6 feet wide or tall, maybe a little more, and likes a spot in the sun.

‘Roguchi’ seems to be free from clematis wilt, and is very hardy over a wide range. If only everyone could agree how wide. As with its name, you have to take a position on hardiness, too. Certainly 4-9, but maybe colder and warmer.

I’m thinking another plant is in my future—one that I’ll plant alongside one of my Japanese maples in a pot, which I overwinter in my unheated barn. Sound like a good idea?



  1. Maude Ciardi says:

    MY Sweet Autumn Clematis has grown to about 30 ‘ Covering a wooden arbor.It is covered with thousands of buds ready to pop open .It will be just beautiful. A great surprise for Autumn.Your vine is just amazing even after your terrible weather. They must be very hardy.

  2. Margaret,
    I love, love, love ‘Roguchi’ and have had success on my north side. Sure it’s restrained by the light level but still quite nice. i made a small arbor to create a Mary Grotto. And the 6′ height was perfect for the space.

  3. Lorraine says:

    I have a clematis that blooms in August, is very hardy, not woody, and blooms on new stems. It also is one that creeps through nearby shrubs and flowers. It is very pale blue, has a prolific bloom of very small light blue flowers with a fluffy center, but the blooms are short-lived. It blooms for only about 3 weeks. I have been trying to identify it for years to no avail. Does it sound like anything you know or have seen? I am in borderline zone 5-6.

  4. barbara says:

    Returning from a few days away in August, I found my Roguchi decimated by blister beetles. Nothing remained of the plant’s former robust self – every leaf and bloom were gone and I was heartbroken. Today? It is recovering nicely with fresh green leaves and vigorous growth. Great, great plant. Zone 7 – Virginia

  5. Calico says:

    I am certainly going to try this clematis. This is a bit OT, but you mentioned it climbling up a Japanese Maple. I found a sale on a Bloodgood Japanese Maple and was wondering if it’s possible to top off the Maple to keep it short and make it create a type of wider canopy like tree. Have you any idea if this would ruin the maple if I did that to it?
    Love your blog, it always hits home with me.
    Zone 5

  6. Miranda says:

    I love Roguchi but it’s not doing well in my SE Pennsylvania (6b) garden. I placed it in south-facing full sun, in good well-drained soil, watered it deeply, every other day through the hottest part of summer, less frequently in cooler times. I protected the roots with a low-growing perennial. This was its first year. Please tell me what I’m doing wrong. Thanks so much.

    1. margaret says:

      I don’t know, Miranda, but if it was just planted before this tough summr we’ve had (hot/dry relatively speaking?) I wonder if it’s just sulking and trying to set down roots. I wouldn’t plant anything over it as it gets established — give it its own space so it doesn’t have to compete for moisture etc. with a groundcover.

  7. Karen says:

    I LOVE my Rooguchi! It is a great preformer…. Plays well with others and is still blooming since May, Couldn’t do with out it.

  8. Beverly, zone 6 eastern PA says:

    I also have Roguchi in PA – Lehigh County. It’s the best Clematis I have ever grown and I have about 6 others including Jackmanii, Sweet Autumn, Engelina, Nellie Moser, a mystery purple w small flowers and one thug from my brother’s back yard in France, seed grown, sort of like Autumn Clematis on steroids. Roguchi grows about 5 feet high on an iron tripod for me, bends over with wind and curls sideways, blooming and blooming on and on. It was a bit slow to start, but by year 3 it was gangbusters.

    1. margaret says:

      Thanks, Beverly. I agree sometimes they are slow to acclimate — putting all their energy into root-making (which is a good thing). I have 4 new ones in pots in the driveway (not al Roguchi) and am about to tuck them in here and there…

  9. Patty Manick says:

    I love my rooguchi. I have a whimsical garden n it fits right in. Two years ago I couldn’t work in my garden at all. I thought it died. Nope! It came back and is so happy. Almost like it came back much stronger. I saved some seeds n want to try to grow more.

  10. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Margaret,

    I am interested in adding a Roguchi clematis to my garden this spring, but I didn’t realize that it was a “scrambler” vs vining…do you think it would climb up my south-facing deck stair railing & bannisters? Or would I be better off going with a different variety (also considering ‘Princess Diana’).
    Also, when do you recommend planting clematis in the spring? As soon as the ground is workable or later on? I am in zone 5B Wisconsin.

    Love your website, podcasts, & books! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and humor with us all.

    1. margaret says:

      Mine gets to about 8 feet I think, so not a tiny thing but not one of the really crazy growers, either. Early spring is fine for planting — or anytime in spring or fall, as presumably it will be in a pot and happy to get liberated. :) And even in summer — but I hate planting anything in hot and dry midsummer and having to worry to water every 5 minutes when things haven’t had a chance to root in yet.

      1. Jacqueline says:

        Thank you for the speedy response! There is plenty of railing length for it to climb along, but will it wrap itself like a vine? Or do I have to help it along and add fasteners?

        1. SunnyLynn says:

          I have just re-planted a Roguchi today that my kind neighbor gave me. She had helped it up a trellis and she added one fastener at the top. It was wrapping nicely with the initial help. From all I’ve read, I believe you must use a fastener and guide the vines initially.

  11. Mary Ellen says:

    Wondering if I can plant roguchi in a sedum bed that has pebble rocks integrated with the soil? Probably about 5 hours sun. It’s a blue garden, a lot of blue tinged sedum and I think the dark blue roguchi would be stunning there.

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