Clematis pruning made easy

by Anna | 22.10.2013 | 3 steps | easy | 10 - 20 Min. | Rating: 2 votes

Keep your walls and fences looking pretty with our guide to clematis pruning.

If you want to cover a barren wall or fence, the first plants that you’ll probably think of are clematis. This wonderful group of plants can easily swathe trellises and pergolas with flowers in just one season, making them an ideal garden plant. However, if you want to avoid a bare bottom and flowers well above eye level, then there’s some dramatic pruning that will need to take place.

Clematis plants fall into three distinct groups, making it easy to prune them and ensure that they continue to flower for many years. Establish what kind of clematis you have based on the flowering time and then follow the instructions for the appropriate group. 

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Tools
Sharp secateurs
Pruning saw for older and woodier stems
clematis group 1 clematis armandii

clematis group 1 clematis armandii

clematis group 1 clematis armandii

Step 1

Group 1

Clematis in this group bud on the previous year’s growth, meaning that they’ll flower early in the year. They should be pruned in spring, after flowering, using a sharp pair of secateurs. 

Clear away foliage so that you can easily see the base of your plant. In the first year, cut back stems to 30cm above soil level immediately after flowering. In subsequent years, just remove dead or diseased stems and chop back shoots that are too long again after the blooms have faded.

Once you’ve cut all stems, carefully unwind and clear them away from trellises and wires so that new growth has space to grow.

Clematis patens the president - pruning group 2

Clematis patens the president - pruning group 2

Clematis patens the president - pruning group 2

Step 2

Group 2

Group 2 Clematis have huge flowers that will fill your garden in May and June. There are a number of variations for pruning these varieties, but one of the best ways is to only prune every three or four years. Clear away foliage so that you can easily see the base of your plant. Using sharp secateurs, cut plants back hard to between 1 and 3 feet above ground, encouraging new and vibrant growth. Do so in late winter or early spring.

Once you’ve cut all stems, carefully unwind and clear them away from trellises and wires so that new growth has space to grow.

Pruning clematis group 3

Pruning clematis group 3

Pruning clematis group 3

Step 3

Group 3

The final group of clematis put on a growing spurt in the spring, and flower on these new shoots late in the summer season. Clear away foliage so that you can easily see the base of your plant.They are prone to becoming top heavy, and each stem needs pruning back using sharp secateurs, to a strong pair of buds 15 to 30cm above the ground in February or March.

Once you’ve cut all stems, carefully unwind and clear them away from trellises and wires so that new growth has space to grow.

Items:
Sharp secateurs
Pruning saw for older and woodier stems
Tools
Sharp secateurs
Pruning saw for older and woodier stems
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