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Pruning Clematis     February 2006


Take the mystery out of pruning Clematis


Pruning group 1

Flowering times between January and May.

This Group covers all varieties which flower on last season's growth. These varieties do NOT require pruning.

However, if the plant becomes too large for its place or has some dead shoots, you can prune it back to the size you want. If you do prune these varieties, you will just have fewer flowers in the first year after pruning.

The best time to prune is just as the buds begin to swell, usually in March.

Examples of varieties in this group are montanas and macropetalas

REMEMBER: No pruning required unless the plant becomes too large.


Pruning group 2

Flowering times between May and June and often again in August or September.

These varieties flower on short shoots produced from last season's growth.

This group does require light pruning to keep the plant tidy. Prune in early spring as the buds begin to swell. Generally tidy up the plant by removing all weak and straggly shoots or any dead shoots. These will be the ones where the buds haven't swollen. Finally, tie in the remaining shoots to the plant support.

After the first flush of flowers (the ones produced in May/June) has finished, tidy up the plant again by cutting back long shoots to within 24" (60cm) of the ground and tie them on to the plant support. This will encourage it to produce new shoots which should give more flowers in August/September. Do not prune again until early spring.

Examples of varieties in this group ‘Nelly Moser`, ‘Mrs Norman Thompson` and ‘Marie Boisselot`.

REMEMBER: Prune to keep the plant tidy and, with some varieties, to get better flowers in August/September. DO NOT PRUNE IN AUTUMN AND WINTER. 

Pruning group 3

Flowering times: From July onwards.

These varieties on flower on growth made in early spring and early summer. They should be pruned as the buds begin to swell in early Spring.

Prune back to within 18" (45cm) of the ground. This is not as brutal as it sounds! Just be brave and you will reap the benefit of flowers during the summer.

If you do not prune these varieties the result will be a large straggly plant with only a few flowers at the tip.

Examples of varieties in this group are `Jackmanii Superba', `Ernest Markham' and `Hagley Hybrid'.

REMEMBER: Prune these varieties to get more flowers and to keep the plant tidy.

When Pruning all Three Groups, Make Your pruning cuts just above a good strong pair of buds. Don't cut too close to the bud or you will damage it.



Amazon book - A year at Kew

 Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden

Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS)

Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)


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