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Clematis : The 10 Best Care Tips & Tricks

Clematis : The 10 Best Care Tips & Tricks

How do I plant a clematis correctly in the bed?

The linchpin of a proper planting is the right planting depth. Dig a hole twice as deep as the root ball is long. Put the potted young plant 7-10 centimeters (2-4 inches) deeper than it was in the seed pot. At least 1-2 pairs of buds go underground. Ideally, align the root ball at a slight angle in the direction of the climbing aid.

What’s important when caring for a clematis?

To ensure that a clematis does not just spend a short time in the garden, care should ensure a balanced water and nutrient balance. Regular watering is just as important as well-dosed fertilizing from spring to autumn with a special fertilizer for clematis.

In addition, pruning plays a central role in successful care. The affiliation to one of three pruning groups within the clematis species gives indications of the right time.

In which location do clematis bloom particularly well?

The location should be chosen so that the clematis shows what kind of blossom magic it is capable of:

  • Sunny to semi-shady location without blazing sun at midday
  • Protected from strong winds, draughts, and pouring rain
  • Nutrient-rich, humus-rich soil with excellent drainage

It is an advantage if the root area is shaded a little. Where the location does not naturally meet this requirement, experienced clematis experts plant shallow-rooted under-planting, such as blue cushion , asters or chamomile.

Is the planting distance the same for each clematis?

The species affiliation defines the planting distance of a clematis in the bed and tub. While a clematis alpina is content with 50-80 centimeters (19-31 inches), a majestic clematis montana takes up to 1.5 meters centimeters (5 feets).

The imposing Clematis vitalba should be planted at a distance of 2-4 meters (6-14  feet).

A lower value of 30-35 centimeters (11-13 inches) ( is accepted in the bucket, since only the relatively small hybrids thrive here anyway.

What should the Soil be like?

The impressive vigor and willingness to the bloom of a clematis is primarily based on a soil whose structure meets the high demands. A high nutrient content is also one of the basic requirements, as well as a pronounced humus content.

A light lime content is desirable, which you can create by adding a handful of sand. Loosen up compacted soil with compost, horn shavings and bark humus to prevent dangerous waterlogging.

Is there an ideal planting time for clematis?

The best time to plant clematis in the garden is from August to October. At this time, the soil is warm to the sun at 14 to 22 degrees (57 – 72 F),  so that the roots establish themselves quickly.

The young climbing plants then start their first season with a vital growth advantage. For clematis in tubs, the time window for planting in spring opens from June, as the substrate in the planter warms up more quickly.

How long does the flowering period last?

The multifaceted clematis family scores with a rich variety of species, equipped with different flowering times. To enjoy the lavish blaze of color from early spring until late autumn, simply combine the following clematis species and their varieties:

  • Clematis alpina and macropetala: flowering from February/March to May/June and second flowering in August/September
  • Clematis viticella and montana: flowering period from May/June to August/September
  • Clematis florida and orientalis: flowering period from June/July to September/October

Some autumn-blooming clematis also adorn themselves with silvery shimmering seed heads, especially the yellow-blooming Clematis tangutica.

How are clematis professionally pruned?

The divergent flowering times lead to corresponding time corridors for pruning, paired with adequate pruning. In order to keep track of the more than 400 Clematis species, the experts created 3 cutting groups. Belonging to one of these intersection groups defines both the time frame and the scope of this central care measure. The following overview serves as a guide:

  • Pruning group 1: spring -blooming clematis cut in half after flowering in June, only if necessary
  • Pruning group 2: Clean out clematis that have bloomed twice after the first bloom. The main pruning is done in late autumn.
  • Pruning group 3: radically cut back summer-flowering clematis after flowering in November/December

While an early-blooming clematis does not necessarily require pruning, a bold pruning of summer-blooming species and varieties down to 20 or 30 centimeters (7-11 inches) is essential for a lush abundance of flowers next year. Irrespective of the cutting group, each clematis receives a growth cut up to a height of 20 centimeters (7 inches) in the late autumn of the planting year.

What mistakes should be avoided when casting?

The sunnier the location, the thirstier the clematis. Therefore, water the climbing plant regularly and extensively without causing waterlogging. Since there is always a risk of clematis wilting in connection with moisture , the plant must not be irrigated over the flowers and leaves for water supply. Always apply irrigation water directly to the root area.

Do clematis need to be fertilized?

Clematis are not dieters. A balanced supply of nutrients is therefore one of the main pillars of comprehensive care. How to handle it correctly:

  • Supply the clematis with special fertilizer from March to September according to the manufacturer’s dosage instructions
  • Alternatively, fertilize organically every 1-2 weeks in alternation with compost, horn shavings, and comfrey manure

If the pH value of the soil drops below 5.5 in the acidic range, apply an additional portion of vital lime or rock flour.

What diseases can clematis be affected by?

There are 2 fungal diseases in particular that affect a clematis. Both infections spread in warm, humid weather. Clematis wilt can be recognized by brown leaf spots with yellow atriums that spread and wilt the entire plant within a few days.

Infestation with powdery mildew manifests itself as a gray to mealy-white patina on the upper or lower sides of the foliage.

Which pests target clematis?

If a clematis is infested with pests, it is usually one of the usual suspects in the hobby garden. First and foremost are the aphids, closely followed by thrips and vine weevils.

How do clematis overwinter in the garden?

The vast majority of local clematis prove to be hardy in the garden. If you are cultivating a frost-sensitive clematis or just want to be on the safe side, protect the plant from frost and snow.

For this purpose, the root area is piled up with leaves, brushwood, straw or sawdust. Long tendrils are covered with jute or garden fleece. Potted plants, on the other hand, should move to a frost-free, cool winter quarters.

Can I propagate a clematis with cuttings?

When a clematis is in full bloom, it provides a wealth of vital cuttings. It is best to cut out several healthy shoots with a length of 12-15 centimeters (4-6 inches)  ( between two leaf nodes from the center of the plant.

After treatment with rooting powder, place two-thirds of each cutting in lean substrate. Watered regularly, under a transparent hood in a partially shaded place, a cutting takes a few weeks to several months to develop roots.

Which clematis thrive in pots?

It is the richly flowering hybrids that thrive best in a pot. With a growth height of 1 to 2.5 meters (3-6 feet), they are content with the limited substrate volume of a bucket, provided that at least 30-40 liters are available. In addition, a climbing aid should be integrated.

Is clematis poisonous?

The plant genus Clematis is assigned to the buttercup family. This circumstance implies that the plant sap contains the toxin protoanemonin. This alkaloid is hazardous to human and animal health.

The poison can cause painful inflammation on the skin, so that protective clothing and gloves must be worn during all planting and care work. In addition, pets should not nibble on a clematis.

Why isn’t my clematis blooming?

If a clematis lacks the colorful flowers, there can be various reasons behind it:

  • An unsuitable location
  • Imbalanced nutrient supply
  • Too little or too much water
  • pruning at the wrong time

If it is a young clematis, give it 1-3 years to flower. As a rule, clematis initially develop sufficient leaf volume to then produce the first buds.

What helps against brown leaves?

If brown leaves appear on the lower tendrils, there is an urgent need for action. This symptom indicates clematis wilt, especially on large-flowered hybrids. How to proceed now:

  • Cut out all brown leaves in the early stage of infection
  • If wilt sets in on the entire clematis, cut back to just above the ground
  • Treat immediately with an approved fungicide

What to do with yellow leaves

A lack of nutrients causes clematis leaves to turn yellow. Therefore, check whether you supply the climbing plant with sufficient fertilizer.

If so, the soil pH should be tested. Acidic soil inhibits nutrient uptake, even when sufficient fertilizer has been applied. In this case, the administration of rock powder or vital lime provides a remedy.

Best Clematis verities

  • The President: world-famous classic with a dark blue flower
  • Nelly Moser: twice blooming clematis with pink flowers and red stripes
  • Chalcedony: large-flowered beauty with ice-blue double flowers
  • Rhapsody: multi-award winning mauve summer bloomer
  • Dark Eyes: Autumn-blooming variety with purple-purple flowers
  • Jackmanii: Lavish abundance of bright violet flowers until September
  • Mikelite: the ideal clematis for the tub with violet-red flowers in summer
  • Kermesina: an Italian clematis with remarkable resistance
  • Carnaby: the pink and pink flowering clematis impresses with its complete winter hardiness
  • Caroline: unfolds its pink flowers even in shaded to partially shaded locations
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