Freckles Clematis, Winter Flowering

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Misc RHS AGM, Wildlife Value
Shade Full Sun
Area Scotland & The North
Soil Good, Well Drained, Alkaline/Chalky, Poor/Dry
Colour Pink (Dark), White/Cream
Type Climber or Rambler, Evergreen, Pot Grown
Also Good Repeat Flowering
Flowering Jan, Feb, Nov, Dec

Clematis cirrhosa var. purpurescens 'Freckles'

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About Clematis Cirrhosa 'Freckles':

Clematis cirrhosa var purpurescens 'Freckles' brings a splash of Mediterranean warmth to your garden in winter and early spring, with its unusual speckled flowers. These early blooms will brighten your garden and attract bees at a sparse time of year.

At its best over an arch or pergola to really show off the speckled interior of the flower, and its lemony scent, this clematis doesn't need pruning, although some trimming will encourage strong new growth. Originating in the Balearic Islands, this climber loves the sun. If you'd like a hardier clematis, maybe a tough montana like Mayleen, take a look at our Clematis collection.

Great for your garden:

Freckles will be happiest in alkaline or neutral soil. Being of Mediterranean origin, it will prefer a warm, sunny corner of your garden. This plant will look great along a wall or trellis behind a border, bringing winter and early spring colour to an otherwise quiet time of year in the garden. As long as it has sun and good shelter from the wind, it should be fine to grow in most parts of Scotland. 

The scent and the speckles can be best appreciated when the plant is grown over an arch or pergola, where it will grow up to about 4m high with a spread of around 2m. The leaves are evergreen, with a bronze tint in winter. They are quite delicate, almost fern-like. It won't rampage quite as vigorously as some other Clematis so if you prefer your climbers a bit more manageable, this could be for you. If you need to cut it back, do so just after flowering.


  • Bell-shaped cream flowers with red-brown speckles on the interior side
  • Flowers November to February
  • Scented- citrus-like
  • Dainty evergreen leaves with a bronze tinge in winter
  • Height and spread up to 4m x 2m
  • Half hardy and prefers sun
  • Pruning Group 1
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit

Look out for:

Clematis slime flux. It's an uncommon bacterial infection but can be fatal. It happens when the plant has an injury and bacteria infect the wound. Signs include wilting and yellowing of the leaves, as well as the unpleasant slime in the stems where the plant is affected.

Earwigs, aphids, and fungal infections can also affect Clematis

It does not suffer from Clematis wilt.


Clematis cirrhosa originates in Southern Europe and North Africa, hence its tender nature. It was collected in Mallorca by the then curator of Chelsea Physic Garden, Allen Paterson. The seeds were passed on to the famed clematis grower Raymond Evison, who released it in the late 1980's and named it 'Freckles' after his daughter Rebecca. The name 'Clematis' is of Greek origin, from the word 'Klema' meaning vine-like.

Images supplied by Clematis on the Web.

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Bareroot planting is best done between November and April
Bareroot and potted - what's the difference?

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