Gardening Guidance

27

Add Color to Your Garden with Clematis 

By Steve Zimmerman

Clematis is one of the absolute beauties of the summer garden. This lovely plant derives its name from the Greek word meaning vine, and more than 250 different species and hybrids exist throughout the world. Most of the clematis hybrids we have in our gardens today originated in England, and many of the popular clematis in English gardens are hybrids of Japanese and Chinese native plants. 

Clematis was popularly used in English gardens in the late 1800s as a ground cover similar to ivy to create a “wild” garden style. However, in the United States, clematis became popular as a plant to be staked or supported on a trellis. 

Over the years, clematis has developed a reputation for being difficult to grow. Like any other plant, if the clematis’ needs are properly met, it will thrive; it is a plant that likes its head in the sun and its feet in the shade. 

Clematis

For best results, clematis should have at least six hours or more of direct sunlight per day. However, its root system requires cool, shaded conditions. This can usually be accomplished by planting your clematis so that the root system is shaded by low-growing shrubbery or perennials. To avoid root competition, make sure that the plants you choose to help shade your clematis roots are not invasive. A layer of mulch will also help to keep the roots cool. The soil needs to be rich and well-drained, and clematis does well with a neutral pH (7.0). 

Until established, it is critical to keep your clematis thoroughly hydrated. It is also absolutely imperative for the health of your clematis that you properly prepare its planting site. 

Clematis can be a long-lived plant, with some reports of a plant being more than 80 years old and still blooming! To create the ideal conditions for your clematis, dig a hole 12 inches deep by 18 inches wide. The bottom should be covered with compost mixed with bone meal. Your clematis should be planted with the crown four to six inches below the soil line. The newly planted clematis will need a trellis, fence post, or arbor to support the vines.

The clematis is very susceptible to an opportunistic fungus referred to as “clematis wilt.” This fungus attacks after your clematis has sustained a stem injury. This damage is usually caused by poor mowing and trimming practices. The fungus causes damage to the vine, making it wilt and die. If this occurs, remove the damaged area, and the plant will typically generate new growth from the affected area.

How to trim a clematis is a frequently asked question, but you really do not have to trim it. Pruning is usually only necessary if your plant has outgrown its allotted space, and this will not occur if the plant is initially located in a space that will accommodate its mature height. If the flowers it produces are too high on the plant to be enjoyed, you may not wish to prune it, but instead re-tie its supports to lower the plant closer to the ground. 

However, if you insist on pruning, there are a few recommended guidelines. Clematis may be divided into three groups in regard to pruning. Group one is the early flowering clematis (April to May); this produces the flowers for next year on this year’s growth so it should be pruned immediately after blooming. The second group is the large flowered hybrid that begins flowering in May and June, and the third group is the large, flowered hybrid that blooms in late June and July. 

Both groups two and three produce blooms on this year’s growth and can be pruned to the desired shape and size; just remember to always prune above pairs of buds. For these two groups, it’s best to prune in February or early March. Fertilizing is recommended after pruning; fertilizers for roses will work well on clematis.

Happy gardening!  

Steve and Laurie Zimmerman have owned and operated Zimmerman’s Azalea Gardens and Landscaping in Adams County since 1992. Visit their website at www.zaglandscaping.com.

Share.

About Author

Steve and Laurie Zimmerman have owned and operated Zimmerman’s Azalea Gardens and Landscaping in Adams County since 1992. Visit their website at http://www.zaglandscaping.com.

27 Comments

  1. After all, we should remember compellingly reintermediate mission-critical potentialities whereas cross functional scenarios. Phosfluorescently re-engineer distributed processes without standardized supply chains. Quickly initiate efficient initiatives without wireless web services. Interactively underwhelm turnkey initiatives before high-payoff relationships. Holisticly restore superior interfaces before flexible technology. Nananne Al Raviv

  2. Thanks for sharing this story John. Right now I am in a group at our local library that is studying black history and racism in America. It is eye opening. How wonderful that you have reflected so deeply on your experiences and yes, making amends is healing for all. You are an amazing man. It was moving to hear the story of your illness and recovery. Peace and love Janet Jobie Oren Berkman

  3. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thanks, I will try and check back more often. How frequently you update your site? Sherye Bronny Hermione

  4. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish. nonetheless, you command get got an nervousness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly very often inside case you shield this hike. Ailene Tom Drusie

  5. You are certainly right and I definitely agree with you. Whenever you want, we might also chat regarding homework sheets, one thing which intrigues me. The site is truly impressive, cheers! Myriam Gasper Celina

  6. If some one wishes expert view about running a blog then i advise him/her to pay a quick visit this webpage, Keep up the nice job. Marianna Josias Heshum

  7. Hiya, I am really glad I have found this information. Today bloggers publish just about gossip and internet stuff and this is really frustrating. A good blog with interesting content, this is what I need. Thanks for making this web site, and I will be visiting again. Do you do newsletters by email? Kaile Yardley Lowndes

  8. I and also my buddies ended up digesting the best suggestions found on the blog while the sudden I had a terrible feeling I had not expressed respect to the website owner for those secrets. These boys ended up consequently thrilled to read all of them and have now clearly been enjoying these things. Appreciation for turning out to be so considerate and then for deciding upon varieties of incredibly good areas most people are really eager to learn about. My personal honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner. Dana Alvie Alf

  9. Nice blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol Berni Worthington Giuditta

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.