Clemantis- Winterizing for beautiful spring growth
My Henrii Clematis is one of my favorite plants. Housed in a large Earthenware pot it is approx. 5-6 years old. Early in my ownership, I left it to climb and twist as it wanted. Then I realized, in the cold the stems are most brittle, and it's tenuous hold on the trellis, the iron grill and other nearby stems was compromised by frigid temperatures and brutal winds. It's fragile tendrils were constantly broken as it's top heavy shape was buffeted back and forth like a punching bag ripping it from the trellis and mangling the stems in the process. I had to DO something, but what? Henrii is a tough and prolific bloomer, and at least in this area of the country he seems to actually prefer the cooler temperatures, not only does he bloom up until a freeze, but has a new crop of flowers ready in the spring before almost anything else, including my daffodils...Still I had already experienced the badly broken stems, reduced flowering and crispy dead foliage covered over in a layer of new spring growth...it's certainly impossible to fix it then...and so I learned sacrifice is necessary for the best health of the plant...and each fall I carefully trim the side shoots that are tangled until I loosen the "head" of the plants and trim, trim, trim until I am all the way to the main stems and then loosely tie those to the trellis for the winter. Today is November the sixth, and not only were there flowers on the plant, there were buds and new growth leaves as well, and yet I know that much like the advice to keep your hair trimmed if you want it to remain healthy, Henrii's heath depends on this fall ritual.