Wednesday, December 1, 2010


When I saw my first clematis, it was so breath taking!  I planted one, and envisioned the same beautiful vine I had seen at Lydia's house, climbing up a trellis on the side of her porch.  But, the trellis I had for my clematis to climb on remained pretty much barren.  That was six or so years ago. I have some beautiful clematis now, but it didn't happen in 1 season.   While clematis can be somewhat temperamental to get started, they are well worth the time spent at the beginning of their growth, and you will enjoy spectacular blooms for years to come!  Now is the perfect time to pour over some clematis information and decide on which ones would work in your garden beds. Here are a few simple tricks I've learned over the years for the success of growing clematis:
  • They need 5-6 hours of sunlight a day.  If you have an area with that much sun, then selecting a variety will be much easier.  There are some clematis, however, that can get by with less--but you will be limited.  I'm ordering one this year that actually does well in shade to partial shade.  If your area has filtered sunlight, choose accordingly for the best results.
  • Try to select plants that are two years old or even older.  If they're potted and growing, verses bare root, a potted plant will be better to plant to get them started--bare roots are tricky to start.  And another hint, plant two different varieties with different bloom times on the same trellis--this will increase your bloom time, and you'll have blooms throughout the season.
  • Clematis like well-drained soil, which makes your soil preparation really important.  They have deep roots, so dig a deep hole and mix some good compost in.  And then, one of the most important things to do:  plant it deeper in the ground than it is in the pot.  Cover up one or two sets of leaves.  This will give your plants the start that it needs.  It will create a bushier plant, and if the stem should break (and they often do), the stem can still shoot up from under the ground and your plant won't be lost.  You don't need to remove the leaves, just cover them with soil.
  • They like to be watered well.  At first, soak it twice a week until it's established.  In later years, soak it well once a week in dry weather.  Also, feed it with a good granular fertilizer or a good water soluble fertilizer.
  • Clematis roots like to be cool.  Plant something like a perennial or mulch heavily at its base to shade the roots and keep them cool.  Mulch in late fall, also, to help with wintering.  For the first year, prune clematis back to about 8-10 inches in the late autumn.  In subsequent years follow the pruning recommendations for your particular variety.
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.

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