The perpetual problem! The challenge is to watch when it flowers, hence writing the article now. It can seem so complicated with all the different groups. There is a Clematis flowering in every month of the year and it’s worth noting when.
1. If it flowers before June don’t prune….
Winter flowering Clematis, Clematis armandii, Clematis montana and others all flower before June and do not need pruning every year. However of they do become overgrown and annoying they can be trimmed and tidied after flowering which gives them a whole year to recover and develop new buds for the following season.
2. If it flowers in June (half way through the year) prune by half in the Spring….
You will have to check your own varieties as there are too many to mention here but my Dad took me at my word when pruning ‘Nelly Moser’ and cut it horizontally half way down the trellis. That is a little extreme but it worked and flowered beautifully every year. The theory behind this is that as it flowers half way through the year if you cut half the dead looking shoots off to strong buds in Spring it has time to recover and develop buds for when it flowers a few weeks later.
3. If it flowers later in the Summer cut hard back in the Spring.
A lot of the later flowering Clematis like those in the Texensis group flower later on in the year so can be cut further down as they have more time to recover. These are my favourites for growing through trees and shrubs as you can pull out all the dead looking shoots from the previous season and cut right down to a few inches from the ground as they often shoot from ground level. I have ‘Princess Dianna’ through a Laurel hedge!
Use in Gardens
Clematis can add a whole new dimension to the garden but instead of growing them alone up a trellis which leaves you with a bare fence in winter consider combining with evergreens and allowing to ramble naturally as they do in the wild. All our Clematis are derived from wild versions like the Old Man’s Beard that covers our hedgerows!
I can spend half a day in your garden identifying your plants, teaching you how to look after them and discuss design ideas. I can also work out a maintenance programme for you. The visit is followed up by a written report so you don’t have to remember all those Latin names! This may be all you need to gain a little confidence in the garden to maintain it yourself. I can also work with you and teach you pruning or I can just do it for you!
Cathie’s Garden Army
If you have lost control of your garden completely we are here to help! A qualified team of horticulturists can transform your garden in a day following a consultancy and can even maintain it for you too once we have worked our magic.