Home » Why isn’t my clematis growing? – a cause analysis

Why isn’t my clematis growing? – a cause analysis

Why isn't my clematis growing? - a cause analysis

Your clematis was planted with great enthusiasm. Instead of showing the proverbial growth, the clematis does not grow. Dedicated research into the triggers is now required. You can read about the most common causes here.

Cause #1: Naturally slow growth

The large-flowered hybrids like to take it slow. After planting, they first concentrate on strong root formation, only then to start growing in length. This applies in particular to species and varieties that remain small and are suitable for cultivation in tubs.

Cause #2: Clematis is starving

So that a clematis can develop its enormous biomass, it needs a balanced supply of nutrients right from the start. Proper fertilization, therefore, plays an important role in professional care. How to handle it correctly:

  • When planting, put a generous portion of compost and horn shavings in the planting hole
  • Use a high-quality, pre-fertilized substrate for planters
  • Clematis in the garden from March to September every 6 weeks with clematis special fertilizer
  • Alternatively, fertilize alternately every 8 days with compost and potassium-rich comfrey manure

These species reduce growth after the first flowering

Some of the most popular species and cultivars will increase in height rapidly in the first two years. After the first flowers appeared in the third year, the following clematis almost completely stopped growing in length:

  • Clematis Alpina and all varieties of alpine clematis
  • Clematis macropetala including all descendants
  • Clematis koreana with breeds like ‘Dusky’, ‘Pointy’ or ‘Brunette’

This broad family branch within the clematis is summarized under the name Clematis atragene. Therefore, when buying a clematis, pay attention to the botanical name in order to draw conclusions about the growth behavior.

Waterlogging stops any growth

Any clematis will stop growing in waterlogged soil. So that it doesn’t get that far in the first place, experienced hobby gardeners always lay a drainage made of gravel or grit in the planting hole. 

Sensitive species, such as Clematis Alpina, should also be planted slightly higher so that rain and irrigation water runoff better.


Late summer is not automatically the best time to plant clematis. For tubs and balcony boxes, spring is the ideal time for planting. The warm spring sun warms up planters quickly so that the clematis takes root and thrives magnificently.

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