By John Toepfer
Every gardener should know the pleasure of having at least one clematis vine in his or her yard. One of the special characteristics of clematis is that if you get the right mix of plants, you can have blooms from May through September.
Tip 1: Selecting the Vine
Did you know that there are more than 250 species of clematis vine? The vines can grow anywhere from six to 30 feet. Some are evergreen, some lose their leaves in the winter, and some will even bloom twice in the same season. Some factors you should think about in selecting a vine include its mature height as well as flower form and color.
Tip 2: Planting Your Clematis Vine
Clematis does have a reputation, somewhat deserved, for being a little finicky. Their preference for full sun conditions while maintaining cooler soil conditions can be a little challenging. However, with a good layer of mulch, you can grow clematis in hot and dry conditions. If your yard doesn’t have full sun conditions, you can also grow varieties that are a little more shade tolerant, such as Henryi and Nellie Moser. Purchase plants that are at least two years old. This level of maturity means the plant is more vigorous and ready to flower during the growing season.
Tip 3: Supporting Your Clematis
Clematis can be grown as a groundcover and even in a container, but it looks its best cascading over a support, such as an archway, pergola, fence or trellis.
Tip 4: Pruning and Care of Clematis Vines
Pruning is an important task. This requirement can vary depending upon the variety of clematis. We suggest this approach. Leave the prior year’s growth in place until mid-spring. Begin pruning only when you can see which vines are dead and which ones are starting to leaf out. In early spring surround the plant with compost and organic fertilizer. During the growing season, fertilize with a water-soluble organic fertilizer.
Interested in growing a clematis vine? Check out our selection of vines at bloomingsecrets.com/gardening/ category/flowers-and-plants.
John Toepfer is an avid self-taught gardener with over 30 years of experience. He started Blooming Secrets, a gardening website that provides personalized selections based off your exact location and level of gardening (so everyone can have a green thumb!) John has been a resident of Prince William County for over 20 years.