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How to Prune Clematis Vines – With their stunning blooms, appealing seed heads, and highly ornate climbing or spreading habits, clematis are one of the most beautiful and spectacular vines on the planet.
They bloom throughout the spring, summer, or autumn, depending on the group they belong to, and once established, they put on a spectacular flower display.
These fast-growing vines are easy to grow and care for, but proper pruning is an important part of their annual upkeep and maintenance.
Not only does it make sure there are a lot of blooms each year, but it also makes sure that the plant grows strong and healthy, which results in a lot of stems with flowers that can be seen along their whole length.
For those of you who want to boost the blossom power of your vines, let’s get straight to it!
Here’s how to trim clematis to encourage a profusion of blooms:
First and second-year care are not required to be completed in the following ways: Clematis vines are prolific growers, and they’ll thrive if you plant them and then leave them to their own devices for the first few years.
However, if you want to grow robust, multi-stemmed plants that have flowers and leaves from top to bottom, here’s what you should do.
How to Prune Clematis Vines during the first year
Following planting, all clematis kinds, regardless of which pruning group they belong to, should be pruned back firmly in late winter to a height of six to twelve inches in the first year after planting.
The disadvantage of doing so is that flowers will be lost for a short period of time during their first complete growth season—don’t anticipate any blooms from Group 1 or Group 2 cultivars, which are those that bloom on old wood.
Plants that are stronger in the long run are those that generate buds further down on the stems, rather than simply at the tops, and those that produce more flowers overall.
Remember to hang onto that picture of lush, fanning vines dripping with bright blossoms from tip to toe — this step will help it come true, but it will take some time and perseverance on your part.
Late-blooming Group 3 vines produce flowers on new wood, and because these plants are always cut back, their flowering ability isn’t harmed by the cutting.
How to Prune Clematis Vines in Second-Year Preparation
There are a lot of suggestions from growers about when vines should have a second cut like this.
Cutting down to a height of approximately three feet in the second year will leave a portion of old wood in situ, which will allow for some bud formation the following year.
Rigid second-year pruning implies that plants will take longer to reach their maturity height, but they will produce more stems and bushier growth, which will result in more blooms as a consequence of the pruning.
After Third-Year Care, What Comes Next? The Three Groups
Next comes the first-and/or second-year pruning. In each subsequent year, follow the principles outlined for each category below in the following year.
How to Prune Clematis Vines in the Early Spring
Group 1 includes the early varieties that bloom in late winter and early spring and require no pruning for flower production – only a light cleanup is required to keep the plants tidy. Group 2 is made up of late varieties that bloom in late winter and early spring and don’t need to be pruned for flowers to grow.
These cultivars produce flowers on ancient wood. As a general rule, if they bloom before June, they are classified as belonging to Group 1.
Plants in this category may be divided into two categories. In any case, they do not die back in the winter and instead create deciduous, multi-stemmed thickets, such as those seen in Pamela Jackman’s garden. Alternatively, they may be sprawling, evergreen climbers that have thick, woody stems, such as “Apple Blossom,” which is a popular choice.
Vine pruning may be done sparingly after blooming on Group 1 vines if necessary. Trim the stems sparingly to keep the plants looking clean, and remove any dead or damaged wood at this time.
These huge, old vines need to be cut back from time to time to keep them healthy or to keep the house in good shape, like painting.
When making a hard cut back, wait until plants have completed blooming before cutting them down to approximately 12 inches in length, using a garden saw for particularly thick stems. During the summer, new branches will sprout from the crown.
Clematis alpina, Clematis armandii, Clematis macropetala, Clematis cirrhosa, and Clematis montana are some of the most popular Group 1 species, and you can learn more about them in our guide to 13 of the finest spring-flowering clematis variations.
Flowering in the summer should be repeated.
This category includes the summer’s most spectacular and large-flowered kinds. A large number of these are hybrids.
They form multi-stemmed thickets that bloom initially on old wood in late spring and early summer, before spreading to other parts of the plant. The following summer, after deadheading the spent flowers, the plants re-bloom on new wood in the mid-to late summer months.
There are two stages to the pruning procedure for these plants.
Early in the year, a mild grooming is performed on the plants in order to clean them up and remove any dead or broken stems.
Check each stem, scanning it from the top down, as soon as new growth appears. You’re looking for the first pair of plump leaf buds, which should appear about this time. Lightly snip a few inches above the buds to eliminate just the most recent growth.
Use a soft touch and avoid shearing with a harsh or heavy motion—cutting back too much at this time can result in the loss of flower buds and foliage.
Identify and remove any dead or spindly growth that is near the base of the plant.
In the second stage, spent flowers are removed soon after they have finished blossoming. To stimulate fresh blooms, prune vines to a set of healthy leaves just below the set of discarded flowers.
“Jackmanii,” “Rouge Cardinal,” “Ville de Lyon,” and many more are examples of Group 2 cultivars, which you can learn more about in our guide to the finest summer-flowering clematis varieties.
Flowering in the late summer and fall,
Grapevines that blossom in the late summer and early fall are classified as Group 3 varieties, and they need thorough pruning.
These multi-stemmed shrubs sit dormant in the winter and develop robust new shoots from the severed stems in the spring. They are native to the Mediterranean region. They blossom only on fresh growth, which explains why they are the final group to flower in the season.
Taking care of these varieties is a piece of cake! Remove all stems to a height of 12 inches or less in late winter, cutting just above a set of healthy leaf buds on each stem.
If you have mature, vigorous plants with several stalks, it is possible to stagger where you cut the stems and allow a few longer ones to bloom at different heights.
And for types that self-seed aggressively, such as the sweet autumn variety, C. paniculata, cut firmly to a height of 12 inches right after blooming to prevent the plant from spreading. This eliminates seed heads and reduces the likelihood of unintended self-propagation.
C. tangutica, C. texensis, and C. viticella are some of the most widely planted Group 3 vines. The cultivars “Bill MacKenzie,” “Etoile Rose,” and “Alba Luxurians” are all well-known in the gardening community.
Maintaining the following guidelines will result in profuse growth and a profusion of flowers:
1. Determine which group each vine belongs to and follow the standards for that group.If you’re not sure what kind of clematis you have growing, see our guide to the numerous varieties of clematis for assistance in identifying your plants.
2. Keep vines healthy by cutting them with clean, sharp garden shears or snips.
When you use this tool, the blades are nine inches long and plated in chrome. The waved shape stops branches from moving.
3. For big, woody stems, use a clean, sharp garden saw, such as this one from Garrett Wade, to cut them into manageable pieces.
This foldable pruning saw has a 10-inch toothed blade and a comfy rubber-covered grip that makes it easy to carry. In addition, it comes with a leather bag that may be worn on your belt for convenient access.
4. Have trellising or other supports in place to which new growth can be attached to encourage its development.out this instruction on how to train clematis to grow up poles.
5. Snip stems in late winter, just above a healthy set of leaf buds, to keep them looking fresh.
6. Deadhead waste blooms on Group 2 vines as soon as they appear to stimulate reblooming.
If mature Group 1 or Group 2 vines show signs of exhaustion, such as fewer flowers or flowers that only appear at the tops of the branches, cut them back hard.
A Cut Above the Rest
Clematis are magnificent vines that offer a touch of elegance to gardens and yards of all sizes.
In addition, with only a little careful pruning, you can enjoy luxuriant vines that are laden with masses of blooms and lush foliage each and every year!
Trimming should be done in conjunction with the development of new growth, and clean, sharp snips should always be used for happy, healthy plants. What do you do with these eye-catching vines? Please share your experience in the comments area below.