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How to Protect the roots of clematis – Tips

How to Protect the roots of clematis - Tips

Many clematis do best with their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade. Therefore, clever hobby gardeners choose a sunny to a semi-shady location to cover the roots with mulch or underplanting. Find out how here.

Protect the roots of clematis with mulch 

Bark mulch has proven to be excellent for protecting the sensitive roots of clematis and keeping the soil moist for longer. This is chopped bark from a pine or spruce tree, which at the same time effectively suppresses weeds.

Since this mulch material, on the other hand, removes some of the nutrients from the soil, proceed as follows when using it:

  • Work the soil around the freshly planted clematis with a rake into a fine crumb
  • Spread horn shavings or horn meal at a dosage of 40-50 grams per square meter( SF)
  • Add a handful of algae lime or rock flour  to stabilize the pH value
  • Distribute the bark mulch in a layer height of 5-8 centimeters (2-3 inches)

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Pine bark, the noble variant, is more durable and has a visually appealing effect. This premium decorative cover for the roots of a clematis also exudes a wonderfully spicy scent of fresh wood.

Underplanting covers clematis roots decoratively

To protect the roots of a mighty clematis, small perennials come into consideration. It is important to remember that not all clematis like a shaded foot. Sun worshipers, like Clematis texensis, will at most accept a layer of mulch to protect the roots.

A majestic Clematis Montana or imposing Clematis vitalba usually have no objection to the following underplanting:

  • Asters ( Aster linosyris)
  • Small umbel bellflower (Campanula lactiflora)
  • Cranesbill (Geranium)
  • Ringworm (Chrysogonum virginianum)
  • Gypsophila (Gypsophila hybrid ‘ Rosenveil ‘)
  • Lesser Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla erythropoda)
  • Stone quenelle (Calamintha nepeta)

If you do not want flowering perennials to steal the show from a clematis, use delicate grasses as underplanting. The Japanese mountain grass or the stone feather are wonderful for this task.

For clematis in large planters, hanging cushion perennials are recommended as underplanting, such as the picturesque blue cushions.


Expanded clay,  lava granules, or seramis are inexpensive and uncomplicated coverings for clematis roots in the tub. Unlike bark mulch, these materials do not remove any nutrients from the substrate and create a neat, clean appearance.

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