PLANTING AND PRUNING A CLEMATIS


A few brief notes on planting Clematis: Clematis don't like to be moved, so choose your site carefully. Soak the plant in a pail of water for 10-15 minutes before planting. Place a generous layer of well-rotted manure or compost at the bottom of your planting hole. The root ball of your clematis should be about 5 cm below ground level. Back fill the hole with soil that has a generous amount of peat moss and/or compost and a few handfuls of bone meal. Water thoroughly and frequently.
planting and pruning a clematis, flowers, gardening
Clematis prefer fertile, well-drained alkaline soil. They like a sunny location, but will not tolerate excessively hot environments.
Clematis like their top growth to be in at least six hours of sun while the base of the plant is in cool shade. For this reason it is a good idea to plant a low growing perennial or shrub at the base of your Clematis vines.
planting and pruning a clematis, flowers, gardening
I always have trouble keeping the pruning groups straight, but paying proper attention will give you the best floral display.
Here are a few quick notes on pruning:
Group A: These clematis flower in early spring on growth produced in the previous season. It is best to prune them shortly after they flower.
Group B: These clematis bloom in early summer on the previous season's growth and then again later in the gardening season on the current season's growth. Remove all dead or weak stems in March and prune the rest to a leaf bud at about 25 cm above ground level.
Group C: This final group produce blooms on new growth each year. Cut back all vines to the ground in March.
planting and pruning a clematis, flowers, gardening
Most people think of popular cultivars like 'Jackmanii' when they think of Clematis, but there are actually a wonderful array of colors, flower forms and plant heights to choose from.
planting and pruning a clematis, flowers, gardening
Some clematis vines can reach a height of 20-30 feet. All Clematis vines need some form of support. With this shorter cultivar Clematis vine, a tomato cage has been used to keep it upright.
planting and pruning a clematis, flowers, gardening
This is Clematis 'Betty Corning'. It has nodding mauve flowers and blooms for 6 weeks or more. It can reach a height of 8 feet. Hardy to USDA Zone 4. Pruning Group C.
planting and pruning a clematis, flowers, gardening
Look for this newer cultivar called 'Sweet Summer Love' at your local nursery this spring. Unlike many clematis it is supposedly fragrant. Its small flowers open deep red in July and mature into a purple-violet color. This clematis can reach to 12 ft. Pruning Group C. Hardy to USDA Zone 5.
planting and pruning a clematis, flowers, gardening
This is one of the shorter cultivars of Clematis growing in my front garden. This is Clematis 'Bourbon'. It reaches a height of 6-8 ft. Pruning Group C. Hardy to USDA Zone 4.

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Three Dogs in a Garden

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Barbara Denn
    on Apr 22, 2017

    A nursery had clematis in 8- 10 inch pots across the top . Can I plant the whole pot in the ground by cutting the bottom out or do I need to take it out of the pot it seems that it would really disturb the plant to take it out of the plastic pot.
    • Three Dogs in a Garden
      on Apr 24, 2017

      Hi Barbara, Sorry for the slow reply. It is a bit of a bother, but yes you do have to remove the clematis from the nursery pot. Your clematis needs to grow out as well as down and the plastic pot will restrict its growth.
      Your clematis is going to need a trellis or something to climb on. Depending on the variety, it may climb as much as 15 feet! Get the wood trellis or whatever support you chose in place before you plant (that way you won't trample your plant trying to install it later).
      If there is a temporary wooden or bamboo support for the clematis attached to the nursery pot, try to detach it before you attempt to get the plant out of the pot. Plant the clematis and leave the temporary support in place just to give the plant somewhere to start to climb. Once the clematis gets going you can remove it.
      I suggest you read this article for more planting and pruning advice:
      Happy gardening!

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3 of 69 comments
  • Francine Nault
    on Aug 18, 2015

    I had a beautiful lilac color almost looked like a pompon and it bloomed the first year then this year it never did and it looks totally dead, it started a few leaves then nothing. I wonder what killed it?

    • Three Dogs in a Garden
      on Sep 6, 2015

      @Francine Nault It could be a number of problems including clematis wilt. All hope is not gone though. Sometimes a clematis will come back. Cut down your clematis to the ground ( it doesn't effect the roots) and clear away any debris, to avoid a reoccurrence of the wilt fungus. Note: Do not compost the debris. Give your clematis a good feed of compost next spring, and keep your fingers crossed!

  • Francine Nault
    on Sep 7, 2015

    thank you

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