Growing clematis in your garden

Early Autumn is the very best time to plant clematis in your
garden. The soil is still warm which will promote good root growth and although
the leaves of the plant will begin to turn brown and fall off, there will still
be root growth until the weather, and soil, turns much colder. This will give
the clematis a head-start in the spring.

Many people worry about growing clematis because of their
reputation for sometimes being difficult. If you follow some basic rules,
however, your clematis should provide you with years of trouble free flowering.

Whether you buy from a garden centre or by mail order please
make sure that your clematis is at least three years old and that the roots
fill a two-litre pot. Smaller supermarket plants are fine but for reliable
results they should be grown on before planting in the garden. Most clematis
are climbers but their height and spread varies. Make sure that you read the
label carefully so that you choose one that will fill the space that you have
and will not take over.

Clematis produce new shoots from the joints where the leaves
grow from the stems so dig a hole twice the size of the pot you buy it in and
put some compost with blood, fish, and bone fertilizer in the bottom. Plant the
clematis at about 10cms (4 inches) deep so that at least the bottom pair of
leaves are below soil level. Fill in the rest of the hole and scatter about a
baked bean can full of blood, fish, and bone around the plant. Water in well
and keep it well watered for the first few weeks or until the winter rains make
the soil permanently damp.

Clematis can be grown up walls, trellises, obelisks, shrubs
and even trees, it’s your choice.  In the
next article I will tell you how to prune your clematis.