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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Three Dogs in a Garden
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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Frequently asked questions
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  • Barbara Denn Barbara Denn on Apr 21, 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.

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  • Francine Nault 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 Three Dogs in a Garden on Sep 06, 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 Francine Nault on Sep 07, 2015
    thank you

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