Clematis Tips and Tricks

3 min read

Clematis Tips and Tricks

This amazing and wonderful flowering vine has gotten a LOT better the past few years with some new breeding and varieties. Our traditional varieties like ‘Jackmanii’ (which was introduced in the 1860’s – how cool is that) bloom once a year and for hardly a long enough bloom window. Now with nifty new varieties like ‘Sweet Summer Love’ from the team at Proven Winners – we see plants that will bloom longer -  almost all summer!!   So – we have great old varieties and now some great new ones.  This does mean that when you buy a Clematis you really need to read the tag to see what type you are getting – but we think all of them are well worth the effort!


Clematis vines are a fantastic group of plants offering bold seasonal colour. From the beautiful, large-flowered hybrids, to the more subtle but equally stunning smaller flowered species, these plants have definitely earned their place in the spotlight.

Planting & Care
Clematis are sold in plastic or fibre pots. While plastic pots should be removed, fibre pots should be left on. Remove only the rims to just below the soil line and make three cuts halfway up from the bottom. These pots will decompose in the soil.

Dig a hole four to five inches deeper than the root ball depth and fill that area with an enriched soil mix. Place the plant in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is slightly higher than ground level. Backfill with the enriched soil.


Soil conditions
Clematis prefer a fertile, well-drained soil. Alkaline soils can be attained by regular applications of horticultural lime around the root ball. This is an important tip as we tend to use a lot of peat moss in our soils – and peat moss is acidic in nature – so add some lime to Clematis. Regular watering is required to ensure the root ball does not dry out.


Fertilize regularly to maintain healthy growth and flowering potential. Also, a regular application of organic fertilizer will help to maintain good soil structure. 

Light requirements
Clematis prefer a sunny location, but will not tolerate excessively hot environments. Some varieties will adapt to lower light conditions such as north- or east-facing exposures, and still bloom quite well. Equally important is that the roots of a clematis plant stay cool. Provide shade from nearby leafy shrubs or perennials. The use of mulch also helps to reduce soil temperatures.


Tips for a successful Clematis

Clematis vines need to be supported with a trellis or archway. They can also be trained to ramble over stumps, rocks, or to grow among the shrubbery. Taller growing varieties should be selected for archway and arbor applications.

Planting two to three different varieties of clematis will provide a sequence of bloom, contributing a continuous display of colour to the garden.


Perhaps the most challenging aspect of clematis care is their pruning requirements. Different varieties flower at different times of the year, and in order to prune properly, one needs to know its blooming habits. Generally, clematis can be organized in one of the following groups:

Group 1

  • Blooms in early spring on last year's growth.
  • Prune only dead or weak branches after flowering to tidy the plant.


Group 2

  • Blooms on new growth in May, June or July.
  • Light pruning to strong buds in April is recommended to promote branching.


Group 3

  • Blooms late in the season, from July through the fall.
  • Prune back hard in early April to just above a good set of buds, usually around 30 cm.


Group ‘new’

  • New breeding is allowing for longer bloom times – see the plant tag to make sure.
  • Long bloomer like ‘Sweet Summer Love’ only needs pruning in winter.


 Clematis Sweet Summer Love



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