When it comes to pruning clematis you need to know two things, how to prune, and when to prune.
Both of these factors will depend on the type of clematis you are growing.
We look at how to prune each clematis variety both evergreen and deciduous.
Pruning is actually simple if you can learn about the flowering cycle. And if you learn how to prune clematis each year you will be rewarded with great flowers every year.
Clematis are divided into 3 groups for pruning
- Those that flower on old wood, by this we mean last years growth.
C.montana, C.alpina (Jacqueline du Pre, Constance and others), C.macropetela, C.Armandii (Apple Blosson, Snowdrift and others), C.cartmanii.
- Those that flower on both old and new wood
The large flowering ones that bloom in spring. C.henryii, C.Jackmanii, Mrs Cholmondoly
- Those that flower on new wood only, this means growth since spring of the current flowering season.
The large flowering ones that bloom in summer along with Viticella (albs, venosa, minuet and others), Texensis (Gravetye Beauty, Etoile Rose and others) and the herbaceous varieties
How to prune each clematis group.
Group 1 Clematis.
The easy to prune clematis, in fact you do not really have to prune them at all. However to keep tidy and health simply remove any weak canes at ground level and then prune back lightly. Do this in spring.
If the plant is really overgrown, then you can ‘hard prune’ back to the older woody parts of the plant. Do this after flowering.
Group 2 Clematis.
Generally these are the large flowering types, and those that have double flowers will only produce doubles on old wood.
Prune lightly to shape in spring. Do not remove to much of the old wood (last years growth) as this is the part where the best flowers will be produced. Simply look for a go od strong bud and prune to that. You can tidy up with a light prune after flowering, removing all of the seed heads to encourage a second flush of flowers.
Repeat this seed head removal to keep them flowering
You can also force the plant to flower later in the season by pruning back harder in December.
Group 3 Clematis.
These flower on new growth, so prune back hard to around 30 cm above the ground. Make sure you have left at least 2 sets of good strong buds on each stem.
Spring Pruning Clematis for longer flowering
With proper pruning and feeding Clematis that flower on new growth can flower for 8 weeks and more.
- First tip is not to fertilise your clematis when from it is bud until it has finished flowering. Fertilising during this period can cause bud drop as well as early petal drop.
- Second tip is to prune back your clematis by around 1/3 after it finished flowering. Simply follow the old flowering stems back to a bud joint and prune just above that using secateurs or even sharp kitchen scissors.
- Third tip is to watch out for new growth when pruning after flowering, it is the new growth can produce more flowers, so do not prune that
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