Need help cutting back my clematis!

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Any of you with a green thumb, can you help me out? When and how should I cut back my sweet autumn clematis? This is our first year in this house and I don't want to kill it. Thanks!
need help cutting back my clematis, gardening, It is growing over a moongate but the blooms have now gone and am thinking we should trim it back now for winter
It is growing over a moongate but the blooms have now gone and am thinking we should trim it back now for winter.
  15 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 03, 2013
    Do not do anything now. Sweet autumn clematis sets its flower buds in late summer on new growth, so in late winter or early spring simply cut it down to a couple of strong buds a foot or two off the ground.

  • We cut ours in very early spring before growth begins. You have a wonderful specimen there, gorgeous:)

    • Finding Silver Pennies Finding Silver Pennies on Oct 03, 2013
      @Sensible Gardening and Living Thank you! I can't take any credit for it. We just moved here in May and I didn't want to ruin it. :)

  • Diane Waddups Diane Waddups on Oct 04, 2013
    I cut mine back in the spring and my sister cuts hers in the fall. Either works and yes it will all come back.

  • Julia Fuller Thayer Julia Fuller Thayer on Oct 04, 2013
    When mine turns brown, I cut it right off/down to the grass length. It grows back every year beautiful as ever!

  • Julia Fuller Thayer Julia Fuller Thayer on Oct 04, 2013
    YW. I'm like you. I moved here in TN in 2006. This huge plant grows on the fence that goes around the pool and I had no idea what it was! Now, when anyone else mows in the spring...I make sure they don't mow over the new shoots.

  • Debby Boyle Debby Boyle on Oct 04, 2013
    Don't be afraid to cut it back, it is good for it and will stay healthy!

  • Mary-Jo  Westbrook Mary-Jo Westbrook on Oct 04, 2013
    I've heard it said, cut back right AFTER it flowers, otherwise you'll be cutting off the flower buds that are forming.

  • B.J. B B.J. B on Oct 04, 2013
    Don't you just love this plant! It's always drenched in blossoms in the fall and has such a sweet fragrance! I had to cut mine back to the ground when my trellis fell over and we had to redo it the support structure. It grew back beautifully. I always follow Doug's advice. He is a wealth of great information. I'm so glad he is on Hometalk.

  • RJ RJ on Oct 04, 2013
    We trim ours back to the ground every fall. I think if grows back bigger every year.

  • Pieri Hayes Pieri Hayes on Oct 04, 2013
    We have several large Autumn clematis. We wait until spring and after the first buds show, we cut it back to about 3ft off the ground. It comes back heavier and heavier, year after year.

    • Finding Silver Pennies Finding Silver Pennies on Oct 05, 2013
      @Pieri Hayes Thanks for the tip. I can't imagine this one getting bigger! It was so full of flowers this year. So lovely to hear all the bees buzzing.

  • Jan Jan on Oct 05, 2013
    I don't think you can kill this type of clematis. It has roots to a twin one in China I'm sure. I cut mine to the ground fall and spring and it still takes over the world.

  • Deborah Bunton Deborah Bunton on Oct 05, 2013
    You will not kill it it is very evasive I started with 1 now I have at least 6 . just start pulling it down cut where you have to leave the plant 4 or 5 inche above ground it will come bach. I it a fast growimg vine and a very pretty blanketing in the fall or late aug.

  • Pieri Hayes Pieri Hayes on Oct 06, 2013
    and the smell.........

  • Trish Weinstein Trish Weinstein on Oct 07, 2013
    I cut mine back in the spring because my local birds use it in the winter for shelter !!!

  • Finding Silver Pennies Finding Silver Pennies on Oct 07, 2013
    Thank you, all, for the help with my clematis. I think we're going to wait until the spring to cut it back.