Plant care: Most clematis want at least a half day of sun or more, they are for the most part sun loving plants but the amount of sun can vary depending on the variety. Even though they enjoy a sunny location it is important to provide the root area with some shade or cover. We suggest a perennial or boxwood planted in front to give the clematis roots some shade on hot days. A root area that is exposed to strong sun and drying out will not do well and may even die.
Clematis want a moist, well-drained soil, and do use a soil amendment when you plant. We also recommend 1/2 to 1 cup of our custom fertilizer to get them off to a good start.
Pruning: The first year all newly planted clematis should be pruned down to 12 inches. This gives the plant an opportunity to develop a good root system and in future years will do much better for you.
Pruning in the spring: Clematis, depending on the variety have different annual pruning requirement. Although you may not know what variety you have if you watch the bloom cycle you will be able to figure out which pruning method to use.
Pruning group 1 or A: No pruning. This group consists of the alpina and macropetala and Montana varieties. This group blooms in the early spring, sometimes as early as daffodils and tulips. They bloom on the previous year's wood so any spring pruning will remove the currents years bloom. Clean up the clematis by gently shaking the bush to remove dead leaves, sometimes we even vacuum our Type 1 Clematis. Once the plant has flowered you can prune at this time.
Pruning group 2 or B: This group consists of the early large-flowering varieties, doubles and semi-double. They flower on last season's wood and also as they grow in the current season they will bloom on new wood. In spring remove any dead of damaged stems, sometimes you will see the new growth buds beginning and you will be able to see where to prune.
Pruning group 3 or C: This third and last group of clematis bear flowers on the current season's growth. The old or previous season's growth will be dead and can be hard pruned to the ground to allow the current season's growth to emerge and and get off to a fresh start. Prune this group in April and May before the new growth starts.
Clematis are long lived plants. Prepare your soil, give them a good location, and fertilize each spring and you will have beautiful plants for many years.
Clematis "Prince Charles" in our Display Garden in spring 2020, zone 5