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How to grow and care for clematis

It’s hard not to be a fan of clematis. With stunning variety, these hardy vines put on an unforgettable show that includes colour, scent and perennial displays of flowers and showy seed heads. Some are evergreen, some deciduous. Flower sizes range from small and delicate to large, plate-sized blooms, and some even fill the air with sweet fragrance. Flowering seasons range from late winter to fall, with certain species putting on two feats of command during the growing season!


And they come in a variety of sizes suitable for a variety of settings, including borders, containers, ground covers, screens, and trellises. But they have a reputation for being a little tricky to grow – with pruning confusion being the main reason. Despite rumors to the contrary, clematis vines are vigorous, reliable ornamental plants and they are easy to grow with little effort. It is true that they are picky about where to put their roots. And yes, a little extra attention when planting makes a world of difference in her continued performance. But once established, the brilliant annual masses of climbing, tumbling flowers will make you forget all about that little extra initial effort.

Pruning clematis is easy too – that’s true! Once you know our easy-to-remember circumcision tip, that means…read on. If low-maintenance flower-covered vines sound like something your garden needs, then let’s dive into the complete guide to growing clematis! Clematis is a genus of perennial flowering vines in the Ranunculaceae or buttercup family. Numbers vary, but there are an estimated 300 to 400 known species native to Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America with thousands of cultivars available. Most are climbers with fast-growing, woody vines that scale, spread, and trip over anything that gets in their way. But there are also some upright (i.e. non-climbing), herbaceous shrub species such as C. recta and some that make excellent ground covers such as C. praecox.

How do I grow
Clematis can be planted in spring, summer or fall. If planted in spring or summer, it is best to occasionally pinch out the growth tips during the first growing season. They like a cool, deep, and moist root run, and a little extra time and care invested in creating the ideal planting location will ensure the best possible performance. The vines prefer loose, loamy soil with good drainage and a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.0 to 7.5 in full sun. Before planting, soak the root ball (in its nursery pot) in a bucket of water for about 15 minutes. Create a large planting hole that is 18 to 24 inches wide and deep.