Saturday, June 12, 2010


CLEMATIS are one of the most coveted perennials of gardeners and landscapers because of their vast array of bloom sizes, colors, and bloom times.  Their showy blooms can be from 4-8" across.  They grow best in locations that get plenty of sunlight--at least 5-6 hours a day.  Their roots, which are long and run deep, like to be shaded, so plan on growing something at their base or keeping 2-3" of bark around the base to keep the roots cool and moist, but not soggy.  Remember:  "Head in the SUN, feet in the SHADE."  Be sure not to let them dry out, soaking once a week in dry weather.   They need something to climb on or twine around--a trellis, fence, hedge or even a small tree.  I have a few that are planted at the base of my climbing roses.  Prune your clematis hard to 10-12" the first spring after planting.  This is very important to get your plant off to low branching and heavier flowering over the whole clematis vine.  They like to be composted every spring to stay strong and healthy.  When planting hybrids, plant them 2-3" deeper than it was in the pot.  This encourages strong shoots from below the soil and protects it from clematis wilt, a fungal disease that can kill top growth (which does happen frequently), and helps to protect the roots from cold during our winter months. If this happens, they will normally resprout, but it may take a year or two for them to reappear. Yearly applications of slow release fertilizers in the spring are another way to keep them healthy.  I use super triple phosphate very early in the spring.  Don't use liquid fertilizers unless you use them later in the year, in June or July.  Well-fed, well-watered plants will produce the largest flowers.  Clematis are divided into THREE FLOWERING GROUPS.  It is very important for you to understand how each cultivar blooms in order to properly prune them.  When you do this properly, that pruning will promote flowering.  However, if you don't prune properly, the flowers will be delayed or they might not even flower until the next growing season.  For example, SOME VARIETIES FLOWER ONLY ON THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S GROWTH.  These cultivars should only be pruned to remove dead or weak stems after they have finished flowering.  GROUP I  flowers on previous year's growth.  Leave unpruned.  If you need to, do only after they have bloomed, and remove only the weak or dead stems.    GROUP II   produce EARLY SEASON blooms on previous year's growth and blooms LATE SEASON on new growth.  Prune only to shape in early spring (February or March).  Prune just above the first pair of new swollen leaf buds, about 12 inches from each shoot.    GROUP III flower on new season's growth.  They are usually the most vigorous of the cultivars.  Prune all of the main stems back to about 3 feet above the ground in February or March, leaving at least 1 pair of strong looking buds on each stem.  When you buy your clematis, it will be marked which group it is in.  If you don't know, you can identify  your cultivar and any site should tell you which group it is in.  I love my clematis, having blooms, early, mid and late, some blooming in spring and again in late summer.   Clematis add so much to the gardens, and are one of my favorites!  
Blue Light, Jackmanni, Sugar Candy, Arctic Queen, Franziska Maria, Nellie Moser, Crystal Fountain, Wisely, Konigskind, and Josephine
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.


  1. Thank you for sharing your wealth of information on gardening with me. I Love your blog. I have been referring your blog to our patients who have been commenting on the flowers you bring to the office. Sherry Kay and I both ordered the grab bags you told us about. I'm excited to get it. Christmas is June!!!!!! Thanks again. Gaylene

  2. Thank you back! I have really enjoyed doing the blog, and I'm glad you've liked it, too!

  3. Hi, I really love your Clematis. I have just bought a Sugar Candy Clematis, and so far it is doing well. I used to see a lot of pictures of your garden on Dutch Gardens Web site. But they no longer have that part of their website. I would love to see more pictures of your garden.