Clematis

Sometimes called the Queen of Vines, Clematis are truly one of the showiest of all of the climbing plants in the garden.

There are so many varieties that will flower from early spring to late fall with both large and small flowers. Plant these beauties and watch your garden come alive.


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Pruning Clematis

Clematis should be pruned the first February or March after planting. This applies to all clematis varieties. At this time you should be able to see leaf buds developing as your plant breaks dormancy. You should leave 2 sets of buds on each stem between where you make your cut and soil level.

Clematis have been separated into 4 categories for pruning. Use these guidelines when pruning after the first year.

Group A

Clematis in this category only flower on growth produced in the previous year. When pruning you should be careful to only cut out the weak or dead stems as soon as the plant has finished blooming. Pruning later than June or very severe pruning will result in fewer or no blooms the following spring.

Group B1

Clematis in this category flower only on wood that has been hardened by the previous season’s growth and flower heavily in May‐June and then bloom again with a smaller flush in September.

Group B2

Clematis in this category bloom simultaneously on last year’s growth and the current season’s growth and from June through until September.   Clematis in B1 and B2 should be pruned in late February or Early March. A light pruning with some variation in the length of stems will help produce a well‐balanced plant. Any weak or dead wood should be removed at this time and careful spacing of the remaining stems is all that is required. A severe pruning will reduce the number of blooms the next flowering, but will not hurt the plant.

Group C

These clematis only bloom on the current year’s growth. Blooms start in early summer and continue through the fall. Plants should be cut back in late February or early March to two strong sets of buds on each stem as close to the ground as possible. This will provide the plant with blooms that start near ground level and continue to the top of the plant. If left unpruned these plants can quickly grow out of control as the new growth starts where the old growth ended.

 

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Planting Instructions

Clematis need a cool, moist, deep root run, plenty of water and regular, balanced feeding.

Before planting be sure to secure the stem with a support so that damage to the stem does not occur.

  1. Dig a hole 18 inches deep by 18 inches wide. Cover the bottom with a good rich compost or well‐rotted manure. Place a handful of bone meal in the bottom of the hole as well.
  2. Add enough topsoil to cover the compost.
  3. Place your well‐watered clematis in the hole so that 6 inches of stem is below the soil line. Fill the rest of the hole with dirt.

 

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Fertilizing

To feed your Clematis use a fertilizer especially designed for vines. Garden Pro Perennial and Vine 8‐12‐16 works very well. Fertilize your Clematis every six weeks starting in April until the beginning of August.

Diseases and Pests

Ascochyta clematidina

Also known as Clematis wilt. This fungus tends to be prevalent just as the flower buds begin to open. The entire plant can be affected or as most often only one or two of the stems collapse. If this occurs just remove and destroy the affected stems. The fungus will remain in the healthy looking part of the stem so it is imperative that one inch of the stem below the infection be removed. New shoots will soon appear at or below the soil line. It is very seldom that Clematis wilt destroys the whole plant. If a problem persists the use of sulphur dust will help

Mildew

This is only a problem later in the season and only if there is poor air circulation. If detected early it can easily be controlled with a fungicide.

Earwigs and Slugs

These are the most common pest problems clematis have. Slugs tend to attack young shoots, to eliminate this problem simply use slug bait early on in the season. Earwigs usually attack in mid‐summer and can turn the bloom of a late flowering clematis into a lace work over night. To control earwigs use a pesticide or trap.

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