I have planted three clematis vines in the back yard two years ago. First
year they were doing fine and growing a bit. Second year - I was sick and
was in the hospitals all summer. This year- the trellis fell apart from wind
and the three plants were on the ground when I walked out early spring. I
have put in a better trellis and tried to "hoist" the plants. They look
ugly now with lots of 'brown spots" on leaves and very few leaves.
I want to rescue these vines since they are among the few that survived my
complete neglect last summer.
Can I prune them and re plant in a better area of the garden with better
soil? Or do I have to lift them with all the ugly leaves and all?
Cincinnati- ZONE 5/6.
I had 4 clematis - 2 in full sun and 2 which got sun for about 6 hours a
day. They performed equally well, although the ones in partial sun had more
foliage at the top because the sun hit that area first as it crested over
the house. All 4 plants were gorgeous and healthy. The ones in partial sun
had pretty lousy soil because my ex-wife kept removing the mulch for some
So, I would not move your plants unless they're in deep shade. Improve the
soil with organic matter (composted cow manure, mulch, etc). Since we're
headed for the hottest part of the year, I wouldn't hack away at the plant
much, if at all. Get them back on their trellis and tolerate the temporary
ugliness. Maybe snip off some bad leaves here & there as nicer ones grow.
By the way, I had a book about pruning from the Royal Horticultural Society.
It said that clematis can be cut down to a foot or two above the ground in
very early spring, or not. We tried it, and the plants were still 8 feet
tall by May. Other years, we didn't touch them. Couldn't see a difference
after 18 years of observation.
There are 3 kinds of clematis and you prune them differently. Google will
get you to pages that explain the differences. Entering "clematis pruning"
for example yields the following page among others:
Pretty good advice here. Clematis are difficult to transplant and often
resent it, so I'd leave them in place if the current conditions are
suitable. FWIW, most varieties can tolerate considerable pruning during the
growing season. Clematis at my nursery often get very leggy in their pots
and get cut back frequently. They respond by producing copious amounts of
new growth. Just keep them fed and well watered this summer and cut back
gently as you see fit. I'd wait to do serious pruning until early next
And I wouldn't stress too much about "proper' pruning techniques for
different clematis. I grow a large number personally and they all get
treated very similarly. The early blooming ones (Spring) I don't prune until
they get too large, then I prune immediately after they bloom. All the rest
get a hard pruning in early March, followed by their first official
fertilizing of the season. And I mulch well with a good compost in spring
and again in fall.
pam - gardengal
While discussing clematis, has anyone had good luck getting Clematis
florida to perennialize? Someone gave me one as a gift last month & it is
cute as a button, a miniature clematis with leaves flowers the smallest
I've seen, but some of the literature doesn't make it sound particularly
easy to keep alive for any length of time.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
On several of the clematis groups I participate in, growing Clematis florida
is described as being no different than growing any other species and that
they are hardier than typically thought, but I have had no luck at all
getting these beauties to survive longer than one season. Even coddled in a
protected location they have consistantly not reappeared the following
If someone else has any tips, I'd like to hear them also. These are not the
easiest and least expensive clematis species to get hold of, either.
pam - gardengal
around the house (basement waterproofing). For at least five days,
the contractors' compressor blew hot exhaust right onto a well-
established clematis and burned it to a crisp. Only a few leaves
remained near ground level. I cut off everything that was burnt and
decided to wait till spring. It actually started to grow back! This
year it looks pretty good, but not quite where it was. Next year
should be fine.
I've been able to rescue some other clematis that have been equally
neglected. My experience is that they will survive, though you may
have to wait a year or two.
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