Growing Clematis

Clematis vines are climbing shrubs or herbaceous perennial plants with beautiful flowers in a rich variety of hues. Besides attractive flowers, many varieties can also boast quite a remarkable seedheads. They offer endless possibilities for enhancing the landscape, but in order to achieve the best results, it's vital to learn about their requirements.

Close attention should also be given to selecting the right cultivars as well as to careful preparation of the site. The effort will certainly pay off, as the plants may grow abounding with flowers for many years to come, rewarding us with their growing fullness and lushness.

 

Pruning

Pruning encourages branching and helps develop more plentiful blooms. It should be accomplished between the end of February to the beginning of April. Pruning later than April will result in a delay of blooming.

 

 

Prune with sharp garden shears, 0.5-1 cm above the set of two healthy leaf buds. Always remove all withered leaves and either whole stems or just the parts that died down (e.g. because of freezing).

 

 

During the first year all clematis should be cut not higher than 30 cm from the base, to encourage the growth of new stems at the base of the vine. Similar, or even better result can be obtained by laying the stems flat on the ground and covering them with mulch, just as you did when planting clematis. It will foster the strength of the plants and thus ensure better flowering and higher immunity to diseases. In subsequent years, pruning depends on the variety and the season in which it blooms. (refer to the last column in a catalogue chart and drawing 1 and drawing 2).

When it comes to pruning, clematis can be roughly divided into three groups, which we'll call
1 (none), 2 (light) and 3 (hard).

Notice: By December 2004 we have adopted an international classification of clematis pruning groups. Pruning group 1 corresponds to the former group C, group 2 to the former group A, group 3 to the former group B.

 

 Group 1 (none)- are varieties that flower only on growth produced the previous year: Clematises from Montana and Atragene Group. They are generally not pruned at all, but if it is necessary to prune some overgrowth, cut immediately after flowering, usually not lower than 1 m above the ground.

Popular varieties which should not be pruned:

 

 Group 2 (light) - are the large-flowered varieties that begin to bloom in May or early June with the first flush of flowers appearing on the previous year's growth, followed by a smaller flush on new growth. Pruning should consist of cutting shoots at a height of 100-150 cm from the base (the younger a plant the lower it should be cut). This is a safe way of pruning if we are unsure which category our plant falls into.

Popular varieties which should be pruned at a height of 100-150 cm:

 

 

 


 Group 3 (hard) - are later flowering species and varieties that bloom on new growth from the end of June to July e.g. cultivars from Viticella Group and Jackmanii Group. These should be hard pruned above second or third set of the buds, 20-50 cm from the ground. This pruning pattern should also be applied to vigorous vines if you want to reduce their growth: Clematis from Tangutica Group. As for herbaceous perennial clematis and cultivars from Texensis Group remove all dead stems just above the base, cut the rest 5-10 cm above the ground.

Popular varieties which should be pruned at a height of 20-50 cm: