Clematis Care – Find out how to Develop, Prune & Propagate the Queen of the Climbers


Clematis vines, also called “Queen of the Climbers” are stunning, flowering vines that may add lots of curiosity to your house backyard. Clematis are available all completely different styles and sizes and are one in every of only some perennial vines that won’t get uncontrolled and trigger lots of further upkeep in your backyard. With that stated, there are some belongings you’ll have to do to maintain your clematis cared for and wholesome. 

The place to Plant Clematis (Water, Solar, Soil Wants)

Clematis are very versatile vegetation and in case you do your analysis, you’ll virtually definitely be capable to match up a clematis with your personal rising circumstances. There are over 300 completely different clematis varieties to select from and most will develop in Zones 4-9 (some even in Zones 2-3).

Clematis Solar Necessities

Clematis vines want sunny areas. Most require at the least six hours of solar to bloom, though some varieties will tolerate half solar (3-6 hours/day). A typical saying for clematis is to “maintain their faces within the solar and their ft cool.”

Moisture Preferences of Clematis

Clematis do want even ranges of moisture and don’t wish to dry out. It’s finest to maintain their roots cool by planting a groundcover or shallow-rooted perennial vegetation across the base of the clematis. A 2″ layer of mulch will even assist to maintain the roots cool and moist.

Clematis Soil Wants

Most clematis want impartial or barely alkaline soil, however there are additionally varieties that may tolerate acidic soil (like ‘Jackmanii’).

Fertilizer for Clematis Care

Fertilize your clematis throughout spring and early summer season. It’s best to fertilize each two weeks all through the season to maintain it blooming for a very long time.

Supporting Clematis Vines

Rising clematis vines should be supported. Most varieties, nonetheless, do fairly nicely rising alongside a trellis, over an arbor or alongside a fence.

Hands pruning a brown, woody vine

Clematis Pruning

There are a number of advantages to usually pruning clematis, together with higher air circulation, improved well being and simpler upkeep.

However, not all clematis are created equal. They’ll fall into one in every of three pruning teams primarily based on their bloom time and whether or not they bloom on “previous wooden” (final 12 months’s progress) or “new wooden” (this 12 months’s progress).  The way you prune them will rely on which group they’re in. 

Total, when deciding how and when to prune clematis, don’t take away a creating bud. Should you see buds creating when pruning clematis vines, chances are you’ll be pruning on the flawed time.

vines entwined together with multiple buds
Clematis vines entwined along with a number of buds on the brink of bloom.

Clematis Varieties / Pruning Teams

Clematis pruning strategies and timing fluctuate from selection to selection. Clematis are categorized into one in every of these three pruning teams.

  • Clematis Pruning Group 1 (PG1): The Ramblers and Early Bloomers. Group 1 Clematis blooms on “previous wooden” in early spring. 
  • Clematis Pruning Group 2 PG2): The Huge-Flowered Summer time Bloomers. Group 2 Clematis blooms on “previous wooden” in late spring and “new wooden” in summer season/fall.
  • Clematis Pruning Group 3, (PG3): The Late/Summer time Fall Bloomers. Group 3 Clematis booms on new wooden and flower in late summer season into fall. 

Whatever the pruning group, it is best to all the time prune or lower off any diseased or dying elements of the plant all through the rising season.

Should you plan to develop a number of clematis on the identical trellis, it’s best to decide on two varieties which might be in the identical pruning group.

bright pink low-growing clematis bush on the ground
Clematis in Group 1 are usually ramblers and low rising clematis. They bloom on previous wooden in early spring.

Clematis Group 1 Care & Pruning

Group 1 clematis bloom totally on “previous wooden” (the earlier season’s progress). They’re usually brief, compact varieties and are sometimes used as edging materials. They start their flowering season early spring from buds set the earlier season and don’t die again within the winter. 

Group 1 clematis don’t require any pruning, however in case you’re going to do it, do it proper after bloom. Prune Group 1 clematis solely when it’s crucial and accomplish that sparingly. Filter out lifeless wooden and maintain the stems tidy. Should you prune Group 1 clematis too low or too early within the season, it might value you subsequent 12 months’s flowers.

Clematis 'Kardynal Wyszyneski' Closeup Blooms
Clematis ‘Kardynal Wyszyneski’ is a Group 2 Clematis vine. It blooms on previous wooden in late spring and can bloom once more within the late summer season/early fall on new wooden.

Clematis Group 2 Care & Pruning

Group 2 Clematis blooms on “previous wooden” in late spring and early summer season, then rebloom in summer season or fall on “new wooden.”

In late winter or very early spring, take away lifeless branches of Group 2 Clematis which might be larger up on the vine. Then, in the reduction of every stem about 6-8″, ending the lower proper above the purpose the place it branches (that is additionally referred to as to “a pair of sturdy buds”).

The wonderful thing about Group 2 clematis is that that is probably the most forgiving pruning group… so they’re a terrific possibility for newbie gardeners. Even in case you make a mistake and prune too harshly, you’ll nonetheless be capable to benefit from the late season rebloom that occurs on new wooden.

purple clematis vine with dozens of blooms
Group 3 Clematis like ‘Jackmanii’ blooms on “new wooden” in summer season or fall.

Clematis Group 3 Care & Pruning

Group 3 Clematis blooms on “new wooden” in summer season or fall. Within the winter, Group 3 clematis will go dormant and often die again to the bottom to allow them to produce new buds every spring.

In late winter, prune all stems of Group 3 Clematis again to a set of buds about 12″ from the bottom. 

In case your Group 3 clematis doesn’t die all the best way again and you retain final 12 months’s flowering stems on the plant, it possible received’t set new buds. Which implies… no flowers for you subsequent 12 months. 

First 12 months Clematis Pruning (Teams 1, 2 and three)

It doesn’t matter what pruning group your clematis belongs to, there are particular pruning directions it is best to observe for the primary 12 months. Should you planted your clematis final spring or fall, or in case you’ve been rising clematis with out pruning it, please give it this first-year trim.

a clematis vine with pruned wood
Trim your clematis within the first 12 months to advertise a bushier, stronger plant sooner or later.

First 12 months trim: In late winter/early spring, lower your clematis again to about 5 inches from the bottom, no matter its pruning group.

A primary 12 months trim will make your Clematis extra stunning over its complete (lengthy!) life. Giving your clematis a primary 12 months trim will end in a bushier, stronger, tighter progress behavior, with flowers from the bottom of the plant as a substitute of starting 4 ft off the bottom.

The dangerous information is that in case your clematis is in Group 1, you’ll not get blooms this season. And, in case your clematis is in Group 2, you’ll solely get the late season bloom. However in the long run, the primary 12 months trim is nicely value it. 

Second 12 months Clematis Pruning (Teams 1 and a couple of solely)

in case your Clematis is in Teams 1 or 2, you also needs to do a particular second-year pruning. This second 12 months trim will end in a lush, many-stemmed, bloom-happy plant. 

Second 12 months trim: In late winter/early spring, prune all stems of Group 1 and Group 2 clematis again to about 3 ft from the bottom. 

Even with pruning, you’re going to get blooms this 12 months, as a result of the whole lot above 5 inches from the bottom is previous wooden. The additional advantage is that that this second 12 months pruning will encourage extra shoots to emerge leading to higher flowering in future years. 

Should you’re too impatient or just overlook, most clematis are very forgiving! You received’t harm or kill your clematis in case you overlook to prune. 

Blue Explosion Clematis Closeup
Closeup of Clematis ‘Blue Explosion’

Find out how to Propagate Clematis Vines

There are a number of methods you possibly can propagate clematis vines with a purpose to get extra clematis vegetation. The simplest means is by taking softwood cuttings.

small pots with cuttings

Propagate Clematis by taking Clematis Cuttings

Wait till your clematis is completed flowering for the season. That is the right time to take cuttings. Fill small, sterilized (1 half bleach to 9 elements water) plant pots with moistened potting or seed beginning combine. Rooting powder can also be helpful to get your cuttings began (I take advantage of this one from Amazon).

Subsequent, discover a piece of the vine that has each previous and new wooden. The previous wooden is more durable and brown in shade whereas the brand new wooden is often inexperienced and extra versatile. You need one thing proper in between the 2… a slicing that’s “ripe” — however not too woody or too comfortable.

Unravel the vine and lower it from the plant, making a be aware of which aspect of the vine is the highest and which is the underside (base). Reduce 1″ above a depart node, the place leaves are coming from the vine. Then, lower all however one of many leaves off.

Dip the bottom into rooting powder, then place into the potting combine. You should utilize a dibble or perhaps a pencil to make a gap in your potting combine. This can guarantee you possibly can plant the slicing with out eradicating the rooting powder.

Cowl your pot with a transparent plastic bag and depart in a heat place however out of direct daylight. Clematis cuttings can take as much as 5 weeks to root.

Right here’s a terrific video that may present you the method.

coral pink clematis with write lining prolifically blooming

Clematis Care FAQ

Are clematis vines invasive or aggressive?

Candy Autumn Virginsbower (Clematis terniflora, generally listed at C. paniculata) is understood to be an invasive number of clematis. It’s native to Asia and is understood for it’s candy, aromatic white blooms in August & September. Sadly, Candy autumn clematis remains to be broadly offered within the nursery commerce though it’s recognized to be invasive and is usually a prolific self-sower. It could actually even develop from seeds which might be very, very removed from the unique pant, making it a risk to native habitats in your space.

Different types of clematis are straightforward care and won’t change into aggressive or unruly in your house backyard.

Are there any cold-hardy clematis for Zone 2 or 3?

Sure, attempt any alpina, macropetala or viticella clematis varieties resembling:

  • alpina: ‘Pink Flamingo,’ ‘Jacqueline du Pre,’ ‘Pamela Jackman’
  • macropetala: ‘Blue Chook, ‘Jan Lindmark,’ ‘Joe Zary,’ ‘Markgams Pink’
  • viticella: ‘Polish Spirit,’ ‘Betty Corning,’ Etoille Violette,’ ‘Julia Correvon’

Do clematis should be in the reduction of?

You shouldn’t in the reduction of clematis till fall. This permits the plant to place power into producing new progress so it has sufficient energy to outlive winter. Reduce provided that the plant is simply too tall or outgrowing its house.

Does my clematis want fertilizer?

Sure! Fertilizing helps promote wholesome progress and flowering. Select a excessive nitrogen fertilizer, resembling 10-10-10, 16-16-16, 20-20-20, and even composted manure. Apply the fertilizer as soon as in spring and once more in late summer season. 

How do I maintain my clematis blooming?

If you need steady blooms out of your clematis, it’s finest to fertilize each two weeks all through the season (from spring by way of late summer season) to offer it the diet it must proceed blooming for a very long time. You also needs to usually water your clematis and guarantee it’s cited in the proper location in order that it may well thrive.

What occurs if I don’t prune my clematis?

Group 1 clematis blooms on previous wooden, so vigorous pruning is discouraged for this sort. Should you prune the previous branches, you might be additionally pruning off the buds that may flower and your clematis won’t bloom.

Group 2 clematis bloom on new and previous wooden. So, if you don’t prune, you’ll nonetheless get the primary blooms, however they are going to be larger up on the vine. 

Group 3 clematis blooms on new wooden, so in case you fail to prune final 12 months’s flowering stems, it received’t set buds and won’t bloom for you. Fortunately, many clematis in Group 3 will naturally die again to the bottom within the winter. However, in the event that they don’t, it is best to whack off all of the previous stems in late winter/early spring all the way down to a few foot from the bottom, simply above the place the place the brand new season’s progress begins.

Can you narrow clematis again to the bottom?

Many Group 3 clematis go dormant and die again to the bottom naturally within the winter. It doesn’t matter what clematis group you could have, you possibly can lower it again to the bottom. Simply know that you probably have a Group 1 or Group 2 clematis, this may value you blooms within the subsequent season. However, ultimately the plant will recuperate.

Must you deadhead clematis?

You possibly can deadhead clematis for a tidier trying plant, nonetheless, it’s not crucial. Many clematis hybrids are sterile, which implies that deadheading has no impact on their manufacturing of blooms. Clematis vines will bloom whether or not you deadhead the flowers or not.

Wrapping Up

Clematis, or “Queen of the Climbers” are stunning, flowering vines that may add lots of curiosity to your house backyard. There are completely different varieties which you can select from that may develop in a wide range of completely different soil circumstances with various quantities of sunshine. Most clematis do want moisture, so it’s finest to plant their roots within the shade and their faces within the solar.

Vines are a very magical and necessary a part of your panorama design, however they’re just one small piece of the puzzle! Try this text on Panorama Layering to find the entire different kinds of vegetation you ought to be together with in your backyard.

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collage of different colored clematis vine blooms
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Clematis Care – Find out how to Develop, Prune & Propagate the Queen of the Climbers

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