Frankie Alpine Clematis Plants (Clematis alpina Frankie)Frankie Alpine Clematis Plants (Clematis alpina Frankie)

Frankie Alpine Clematis Plants

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The details

Clematis alpina Frankie

  • Group: Climbers
  • Colour: Mid-blue and creamy-white
  • Height: 2.5m
  • Scent: None
  • Flowering: Mar-May
  • Size: 3-5cm
  • Fluffy seedheads
  • Type: Atragene
  • Habit: Patio Climber
  • Pruning group 1
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit
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Clematis alpina Frankie. Pruning Group: 1

If you're looking for an easy clematis for a new gardener, you couldn't do better than Clematis alpina Frankie. It is one of the first in flower in spring, with beautiful single nodding heads of mid-blue blooms that open up to reveal a creamy white 'skirt' underneath, held proudly above the attractive mid-green, divided foliage. To keep your attention, silvery, fluffy seedheads stay on the plants right through the summer, sometimes until the leaves turn and fall in autumn. If you're lucky, you may get the odd repeat flower in summer. Have a look at our extensive clematis range here.

The plants are compact, growing up to 2.5m, so they won't swamp your garden, and they'll thrive in a large container.

It's an excellent performer in exposed conditions and earned the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2002.


  • Group: Climbers
  • Colour: Mid-blue drooping petals and creamy white 'skirt' inside
  • Height: 2.5m
  • Scent: No scent
  • Flowering: March to May
  • Size: 3-5cm
  • Decorative, long-lasting fluffy, silvery seedheads
  • Type: Atragene
  • Habit: Patio Climber
  • Pruning group 1
  • Attracts bees and pollinators
  • RHS Award of Garden Merit

Growing Frankie Clematis

Frankie is easy-going - she likes a moist but well-drained, fertile soil in full sun or partial shade, even in exposed conditions. Any aspect (direction) will do and it will cope with all soil types, but avoid waterlogged sites. Be sure to mulch and feed your plant with a slow-release general-purpose fertiliser in spring.

Planting is important - remember the saying 'keep their feet in the shade and their heads in the sun'. This is easier than it sounds, even if you're in full sun. Place the crown about 5-8 cm deeper (2-3 inches) than the pot soil level. Make sure the roots stay cool by placing pebbles or flat rocks on top of the soil or have other plants cast their shade there (pop some organic slug pellets down too).

Frankie belongs to Pruning Group 1, where they behave themselves and don't need regular pruning (you'll sometimes see this referred to as 'tidy prune') - just snip off any dead or untidy stems after flowering and that's it.

Clematis alpina Frankie in your Garden

A great all-rounder, Frankie will fill many gaps. A great performer in pots, she will shine in a courtyard or round the door by an entrance. Use a container at least 45cm wide & deep (18 inches) - remember to feed and water regularly. Clematis climb by wrapping their leaf stems around whatever they can grab onto, so supply them with a trellis, cane wigwam or an obelisk.

Frankie makes a wonderful partnership with climbing roses, especially if they're both growing up a tree. Those mid-blue blooms will extend the season right into spring and the silvery seedheads look amazing as a contrast against dark red climbers, such as the deep red Danse du Feu.

If space is tight and you want a year-round display with no downtime in the border, consider planting Frankie with an evergreen clematis, such as Freckles, which will cover the bare stems and provide scented, 'freckled' maroon and creamy yellow flowers in winter; they're a similar size and the in same easy pruning group

Frankie isn't an overwhelming flower, so looks the part in a natural or woodland garden, where massive hybrids would look completely out of character. Let the plants wander as they want through large shrubs and trees as they would do in the wild. a vital early nectar source for bees and other pollinators.

Because she has no scent but lovely seedheads, she is a good choice for a site where she will be seen from a little distance.

Did You Know?

Frankie is named after the plant breeder and grower Frank Meacham, who raised it in 1990. Still, it's an excellent gift for Sinatra lovers, and Franks everywhere.

Planting Instructions

How to plant Clematis alpina Frankie

Choose a spot in full sun or partial shade. Improve the soil from the hole by removing roots, weeds, large stones and other rubbish and mixing in about 25 per cent by volume of well-rotted compost or manure.

Position the crown about 5-8 cm deeper (2-3 inches) than the pot soil level. Spread the roots out, wet them and sprinkle them with Rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi. Place pebbles or flat rocks on top of the soil to keep the roots cool.

Then backfill the hole with mixed soil and compost, firming it gently as you go. Water in thoroughly.

Keep well watered until established. Mulch with well-rotted manure or garden compost and feed with a slow-release general-purpose fertiliser in spring.

Tidy up any dead or straggly growth after flowering.

Don't deadhead or you'll lose the decorative seedheads.