Not grown Clematis successfully before?
Then follow these simple guidelines in this series.
Early flowering clematis (pruning group 1)
“Ne’er cast a clout till May be out” is a well-known phrase although the meaning of the word ”May” is disputed.
Some believe that it refers to the month and others to Hawthorne blossom.
Either way, it is a well used maxim. Well here is another one for you to remember “If it flowers before June, don’t prune”. This is a simple way of remembering that clematis that flower early in the year should not be pruned before they flower otherwise you will be cutting off this year’s flower buds.
If any of these clematis outgrow their alloted space trim them back but do so immediately after they have flowered and not before.
Mid season clematis (pruning group 2)
These a mainly the early large flowered hybrids that begin to flow in early June and just need to be tidied up before they flower.
By this I mean removing dead or broken stems and leaving green shoots that will produce this year’s flowers.
Unlike the early flowering ones however, if you do accidently prune these clematis too early you will not loose this year’s flowers but just delay them.
Late season clematis (pruning group 3)
Clematis that flower from July onwards can be pruned in February (or early March for the Northern England and Scotland). Be brave with these plants and prune them just above the second lowest pair of live buds. This will usually be about half a metre up from the ground.
This will create a bushier plant, with more flower buds, than would have been the case had it been more lightly pruned.
Those of you with some experience of growing clematis will know that it is possible to vary pruning methods from one variety to another but for the purposes of this basic guide I have kept things as simple as possible.