clematisClematis Planting and Care

 Clematis plants are an old-fashioned favorite and still are today! Their beautiful and profuse flowers are enough to catch anybody's eye.

They can however, be quite particular and sometimes difficult to establish in their first year. Understanding not just clematis but the particular variety you have can help you succeed in growing them.


Different varieties of clematis have different pruning needs. There are four different groups:


Group A: These are varieties that bloom on old growth. The only pruning that should be done is on old or weak stems after blooming is finished in May or June.
Group B1: Flowers bloom on old growth in May/June and a second, smaller wave blooms on new growth in September. A light pruning of dead or weak stems should be done in February or March.
Group B2: Blooms on both old and new growth at the same time. Pruning should be treated the same as B1.
Group C:
Blooms from early summer until fall on new growth only. Prune back to about 6 inches every year in spring.

When buying your clematis, the tag will usually tell you which pruning group it falls into. If not, look the variety name up online or ask an expert.


Location: In our harsh climate it is best to plant clematis in a relatively protected area (ex. near foundation, corner of the yard, etc.).  The area should keep moist soil but also must be well-drained. It is also recommended that it have 4+ hours of daily sun.  Some may do well in less.

Planting: The planting hole should be about twice the size of the pot. Line the hole with a good soil mixture (manure or compost are great to mix in). Clematis like to be planted deep so place the clematis in the hole and make sure that about 6 inches of the stem is under the soil surface. Fill in the rest of the hole and lightly pack down.

Shading the Roots: Clematis like sun on the top and shade on the bottom. To shade their "feet" plant a small shrub or perennial in front of the clematis. Make sure it is big enough to cast a shadow of about 2-3 feet.

Fertilizer: The best time to fertilize is when new shoots start growing in the spring. Continue to fertilize (as per instructions on the fertilizer container) until buds are well formed. Stop feeding just before the buds open up, and start again after it has finished blooming. This technique helps it bloom for longer. Around mid-August stop fertilizing so the plant can prepare for dormancy.