Clematis is a genus of climbing plants for which proper pruning is particularly important. If you don’t prune your clematis, it will likely turn into a mass of tangled growth with flowers right at the top. And if you prune it at the wrong time, you may not get any blooms at all. Today we tell you which clematis group (described in detail below) will benefit from spring pruning and how to prune properly.
Regular clematis pruning promotes vigorous growth and flowering
Learn when and how to prune clematis in spring
When to prune clematis?
Flowers are the most important effect of clematis, so the main aim of pruning is to get them blooming profusely every year. However, to do the right thing, you need to know when your clematis is blooming. Circumcise at the following times:
- Pruning Group 1: Prune in mid to late spring, after flowering and when all danger of frost has passed
- Cutting group 2: Cut in February and after the first flowering in early summer
- Editing Group 3: Editing in February
In today’s article we will describe the pruning of the 3rd group
Why prune clematis in spring?
Clematis strains are divided into three groups (as mentioned above) according to their flowering time, growth characteristics, and pruning requirements. Group 1 are the spring bloomers, group 2 are repeat bloomers and group 3 are summer or fall bloomers. If your clematis blooms later in the summer (in July or August), it belongs to pruning group 3. Some members of this pruning group are Clematis viticella, Clematis jackmanii, Clematis tangutica and Clematis texensis.
Clematis varieties in the third group are usually cut back about 30-45 cm from the ground in late winter, removing any dead shoots above. If this strain is not pruned, growth will continue where it left off in the previous season. This results in a tangled growth mass that often blooms well above eye level and the stems are bare at the base.
These late flowering clematis are best pruned back to the bottom pair of buds each February
However, there is a method to save the plant…
If you missed the best pruning date for your group 3 clematis in February, you can prune them until early March. This will help you control the size of the plant, keep it in shape, and encourage room for new growth to replace old wood.
If left unpruned, clematis can turn into a mass of tangled stems
How are clematis of the 3rd group pruned in the spring?
The third clematis group is the only one that benefits from hard pruning. This requires you to cut the plant back drastically so that it stands about 30 cm above the ground:
- In February or March, cut back all old stems to the lowest pair of healthy buds 15-30 cm above ground level. The third group blooms on new growth, so a significant cut back in February or March is necessary to ensure the new growth is lush and healthy.
- To properly prune a group 3 clematis, use sterilized scissors. Make diagonal cuts just above the nodes along the stems, about 30-45cm from the ground, removing all dead plant matter above. If the dead material is disease or fungus free, you can toss it in the compost.
Take care of your clematis by keeping these points in mind
What else do you have to consider?
Clematis are fast-growing plants that cannot feed themselves. If you don’t want them to crawl over the ground and nearby shrubs, you’ll need to provide an armature such as a trellis or arbor. Make sure your faucet is built strong, perhaps anchored to a wall. Expect to have to tie your clematis to it, or at least hand wrap the plant around the structure on a regular basis. Don’t expect a wall alone to provide support: Unlike ivy, clematis cannot cling to a bare vertical surface.
If you want a more informal look, you can try letting your crematis climb a nearby dead shrub
Common mistakes when pruning clematis
Underpruning: If you never prune your clematis for fear of doing something wrong, then think again. If you ignore a vine, it quickly becomes a weed, and clematis is too special to be a weed. Neglected clematis will grow tall and bear flowers too tall to see, or crawl about all over the place, shade themselves and bear only sparse flowers. You certainly want to take better care of your clematis.
Pruning heavily at the wrong time: If you prune a little, it’s okay to prune at the wrong time. If you’re cutting at the right time, it’s okay to cut a lot (“hard”). But if you prune hard at the wrong time, especially if you prune the plant with poor technique, you won’t see any blooms that year.
Pruning clematis in the spring can have several benefits for the plant
*Also learn how to properly propagate clematis.