sweet autumn clematis

My first year of the Sweet Autumn Clematis experiment had spectacular results. I planted it in a pot 18" deep and 14" across. The pot was back in a corner of my balcony that never gets direct sun but as it started growing I trained it across the wall and over to a trellis (cheap white wire fencing I got for $2 and stapled upside down across the top front of my balcony) and it really took off. I was worried that all I was going to get were leaves when I noticed it was loaded with buds. It bloomed profusely and the scent was wonderful. The hardest part was keeping it watered. I was gone for 3 days and the pot was bone dry. It seemed to bounce back from that with no adverse effects.
Can I prune this back now? It's so dark now that we are into the winter cloudy weather I'd really like as much light as possible coming into my living room and this thing has blocked most of the daylight. Like I'm peaking out from inside a cave. I've read either to prune it after it sets seed heads or to wait till March or April. It blooms on new wood so if I hacked it down to 2-3 feet now would it be OK?
Puget Sound region, Western Washington Val
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Hi Val,
Best pruned (whacked back) after the fall blooming or in very early spring. You can pretty much prune it as hard as you like, it's a very tough vine.
Dave

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Val, because ou winters are usually so mild, you do run the risk of it putting out new growth if you prune now. How vulnerable that would be to what winter weather we do have and if there would be any serious damage, I can't say for sure. I have had to prune back clematis at this time of year and all have survived without harm and none were as robust as a SAC, but they were all planted in the ground, which is a factor as well. I'd say go for it.
pam - gardengal
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