Green Circle Growers Blog

Pruning Clematis Produces Showier Display

Green Circle Growers - Thursday, June 30, 2011

Large palm-sized blooms in vibrant purples, pinks and bright whites set against a background of thick green foliage; Clematis provides a stunning garden display from spring through fall. Trained to a trellis, this flower-covered vining plant adds color and visual interest to blank exterior walls. When planted to twine up a patio fence, the flower-laden tendrils of this attractive vine create a dramatic natural screen. A clematis-covered pergola can provide an enchanting entrance to a well-planted garden or can be used to create a quiet oasis of shady seclusion along a sheltered garden path.

Easy to grow, clematis is a versatile addition to any garden. It requires 3 to 6 hours of daily sunlight and thrives equally well in sunny garden spots and partially shaded areas. Planted in fertile, humus-rich soil in a well-drained location, this colorful perennial vine will grow quickly and produce a profuse and continuous display of flowers throughout the growing season. Clematis can be easily trained to any type of climbing support, but shoots must be tied until the plant becomes well established. It may take 2 to 3 years after planting for clematis to reach full growth, but its showy display is well worth the wait.

The key to producing and maintaining an attractive clematis display over the years is judicious and timely pruning. If not correctly pruned, the vine will become top heavy, all of the leaves and blooms appearing in the bushy upper reaches of the plant while the lower portion forms an unattractive tangle of bare, woody stems. To keep your clematis looking green from the bottom up, it must be pruned every 2 to 3 years.

Based on their peak blooming season and whether they set blossoms on new or old growth, clematis are divided into three pruning groups. Before taking shears to plant, gardeners need to know which pruning group their clematis falls into.