Ernest Markham Clematis

Clematis ‘Ernest Markham’

Description & Overview

Ernest Markham Clematis is an award winning and very reliable clematis cultivar valued for its large, open, magenta-pink flowers. Train it to climb along a trellis, arbor, or fencing, or leave unsupported to ramble through medium to tall shrubs. It creates an excellent vertical effect in smaller spaces and containers. Easy to care for and fast growing. Deer and rabbit resistant.

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 8-12 feet
Mature Spread: 8-10 feet
Growth Rate: Fast
Growth Form: Vine
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Moist, Well-drained
Flower: Magenta-pink
Bloom Period: Summer
Foliage: Green
Fall Color: N/A
Fruit Notes: Feathery clusters

Suggested Uses:

  • Border (through medium sized shrubs to act as groundcover),
  • Container gardens (again, to act as groundcover or keep the vine contained),
  • Cut flower garden (flowers are beautiful and make nice additions to any bouquet),
  • Espalier (there is not much depth in the z-direction but it grows full in the x and y directions),
  • Ground cover (for areas where grass can be out of the question or some color is wanted); just don’t trellis it,
  • Privacy screen (adds beauty and density to a fence or trellis),
  • Specimen (showy flowers are enough to attract anyone’s attention and create a focal point in any garden),
  • Urban garden (similar reasoning as espalier, this vine does not take up as much space and can tolerate limited horizontal area as long as there is room for vertical growth),
  • Woodland garden (while not a native, some species of Clematis are and this variety will still make a nice addition or climb tree trunks if the garden is near the woods)

Wildlife Value:

Deer and rabbit resistant. Flowers are attractive to bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

Maintenance Tips:

This Clematis thrives in well-drained, lightly alkaline soil, with roots sheltered and top growth in the sun. Bark mulch will help conserve moisture. Water deeply, regularly in first growing season to establish the root system. Fertilize regularly beginning in spring. Pruning time: late winter or early spring. Prune spent flowers to promote repeat bloom and to stimulate a large flush of new growth. Type 2/Group B pruning – flowers on new and old wood.


It is noted that Ernest Markham Clematis won awards in part due to its resilience and resistance to pests and diseases.

Clematis in general have no known serious issues.

Most plants can be prone to common, ornamental (non-lethal) issues caused by various environmental conditions. Clematis may be susceptible to wilt/stem rot (potentially fatal), powdery mildew, leaf spots, rust, and viruses. Potential insect pests include aphids, vine weevils, slugs, snails, scale, and earwigs. Watch for spider mites. Alleviate these common issues with over-the-counter insecticides or pesticides.

Leaf Lore:

This plant can be poisonous if ingested by humans, cats, dogs, and horses. This plant is a 1993 winner of the prestigious Award of Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society for its vigorous growth pattern and vibrant magenta flowers. In Greek, the name ‘clematis’ means climbing plant. This specific cultivar originated in the United Kingdom and was named by Roland Jackman after the Head Gardener at Gravetye Manor in Sussex, England Ernest Markham.

Companion Plants:

Japanese Maple, Climbing Rose, Daylily, Hydrangea, Butterfly Bush. Japanese Maple (foliage color often compliments flower color, most Clematis are native to Japan and this combination is often grown naturally together). Climbing Rose (flower texture and colors add contrast to the Clematis flowers while maintaining a similar foliage, this is not a plant we sell). Hydrangea (can help fill in the bottom when the vine matures upwards). Butterfly Bush (an additional source of color and also attracts pollinators, while filling in the bottom when Clematis begins to mature upwards).

Butterfly Bush and Hydrangeas will also shade the ground/soil, helping to keep the roots cool. Clematis prefer a cooler root zone.

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