Clematis is known as the queen of climbers. Its vining stems will happily scramble up trellises, over arbors and through other plants, creating a tapestry of beautiful color. This carefree perennial blooms from early summer through fall, producing star-like blossoms that can be white, pink, red, blue or purple. It's easy to fall in love with clematis, and fun to find new ways to use them in your gardens and landscape.
STEP 1 - KNOW
START WITH A BETTER BULB
STEP 2 - PLAN
PLAN FOR SUCCESS
STEP 3 - GROW
PLANTING IS AS EASY 1-2-3
1. Loosen the soil to a depth of 12” and mix in several handfuls of compost and ¼ to ½ cup of all-purpose granular fertilizer (follow package directions).
2. Dig a hole deep enough for the roots, and position the clematis so the crown of the plant (where the roots meet the stem) is right at the soil line.
3. Cover the roots with soil, allowing the growing tips to be barely visible.
TIPS FOR PLANTING CLEMATIS
Though clematis like their “heads” in the sun, the bottom of the plant should be shaded so the roots stay relatively cool.
During the first growing season, your new clematis should be watered whenever the weather is dry. Mulching around the base of the plant will help retain moisture and keep the roots cool. Sometimes clematis needs a little help holding onto a trellis or structure. You can use soft twine, waxed string or even zip-ties to attach the vines and provide extra support.
Florists have discovered that clematis also make good cut flowers. A length of clematis vine, combined with other garden flowers and foliage, can turn an ordinary summer bouquet into something spectacular. Varieties that are especially good for cutting include Blue Light, Ramona, Niobe, and Multi-Blue.
STEP 4 - AFTERCARE
CARING FOR CLEMATIS AFTER THEY BLOOM
After the flowers fade, some clematis develop decorative seed heads. These can be left in place throughout the growing season. Though it's not necessary, you can also cut off the seed heads to keep the plant looking neat. Some clematis varieties bloom again in late summer or early fall. If you think your clematis could be a rebloomer, remove only the spent flower heads and avoid cutting back the foliage.
Early spring is the best time to prune a clematis. There are two approaches to pruning. Some varieties produce new growth on last year’s vines, so they should only be pruned to shape the overall plant. Others varieties die back to the ground. Since any new growth comes from the base of the plant, all of the prior year's vines can be removed. Until you get to know your clematis, it’s best to wait until the plant has sprouted new growth. That way you can see where it's coming from and prune accordingly.
Fertilize your clematis in the spring when the first leaves start to unfurl. Follow package instructions, sprinkling approximately ¼ to ½ cup of all-purpose granular fertilizer around the base of the plant.
If your clematis outgrows its space, you can control the growth by simply cutting back the entire plant to a height of 5". This can be done in fall or early spring. Stray vines may also be trimmed back anytime during the growing season.