PLANTING A NEW CLEMATIS
Dig a hole 18×18 inches and mix a few handfuls of compost or composted manure, along with a little peat moss with the soil that you have removed from the hole. Take a few handfuls of this mix, add a handful of bone meal, and put in the bottom of the planting hole. Plant your well-watered clematis so that about 6 inches of stem is below the soil line. Make sure to tamp down the soil gently to avoid air pockets. Clematis like to be buried quite deep in the ground but do not bury the remaining 6 inches until the stem is ‘ripe’. (‘Ripe’ stems are brown, not green, this may take a few months to happen depending upon how mature a clematis you buy.)
PRUNING A NEW CLEMATIS
General pruning tips for the first year after planting. The first February or March after planting, when buds begin to break, cut down to just above the second set of buds above the soil level on each branch. This is heavy pruning, necessary to promote strong stems.
PRUNING AFTER THE FIRST YEAR
PRUNING GROUP B
B1 Flowers on last years growth. Flowers heavily in May-June and again in Sept.
B2 Flowers on new and previous years growth from June to September
Prune both groups lightly in early spring with some variation in length of stems for good balance. Remove weak or dead wood. Mature clematis can be revitalized and rejuvenated by cutting back old growth. Some loss of flower results.
PRUNING GROUP C
These clematis bloom on current years growth. Cut back in early March to 2 strong sets of buds on each stem, as close to the ground as possible. Resulting growth will bloom starting near ground level and continue to the top of the plant. Left unpruned they will quickly grow out of control, and only bloom on the new growth toward the top of the plant. This is only nice if you want your clematis to grow up an old tree or over a shed, as it will bloom on new growth at the top.
Clematis are easy to grow in the right spot. Full or partial sun is ideal, deep rich organic soil & plenty of water. Mulch with compost or manure and feed each spring with a balanced food like Art Knapps organic base 6-8-6. If planted in a ‘hot spot’, site a small shrub in front of your clematis to keep the roots cool and keep well mulched & watered.
Clematis are relatively disease & pest resistant, but around here they sometimes get mildew. Control it with a bio-fungicide like Natria, or spray with wettable sulphu r.If your flower petals and leaves are getting holes, it is likely earwigs or caterpillars. Slugs and vine weevils like them too. If a mature plant suddenly ( within a few days) partially or fully wilts, this is a sign of ‘clematis wilt’, sometimes due to fungus in the stems, often environmental ( soil too dry or too wet, not rich enough, windy conditions have broken or damages vines etc) just prune it back to the ground, improve environmental conditions and it will likely grow again.