Clematis Care – Schedule of Caring for Clematis

Clematis Care

General Maintenance of Clematis Plants

If you are going to obtain the best results from clematis plants and climbers, then you’ll need to follow a general maintenance or clematis care routine through the year. This really doesn’t amount to much, but the little extra effort required will more than pay for itself in the final result.

clematis care


As the days lengthen and the temperature rises, so all plants will start into growth. Many climbers, especially those trained against the house walls, will require pruning to keep them in bounds. The ivies and Virginia creepers can be clipped back hard, and removed from around windows and roof timbers. This will keep them tight against the wall and provide plenty of colourful new foliage. Clematis will also need to be pruned according to their particular needs, and retied to their supports.

At this time of the year, when the ground is moist and beginning to warm up, it’s best to apply a dressing of a good general fertiliser, followed by a mulch of organic matter – either bark or compost. This will provide a sound foundation for new growth and also for flowers.

The weeds will also be starting to grow, and it’s important to keep these under control. Weeds can harbour a variety of pests, as well as competing for the available food and moisture. Using a hoe is not really advisable in the flower garden. Although a very effective tool, it can also cause a great deal of damage. Clematis and some other climbing plants form roots very near to the surface, and these can be badly damaged, as can the stems themselves, by too-diligent hoeing. It’s far better to use a hand fork; versions of this are available with long handles, which are much easier to use.


During the summer months, when plants are in full growth, there is not very much that needs to be done.

The main requirement is to provide them with adequate food and water, and this is best done by means of liquid feeding. A high-potash feed such as tomato fertiliser, applied every couple of weeks with a can of water, and given to each clematis at least once a week, will keep your plants growing and flowering to their maximum potential.

The montana group of clematis may require some pruning. Wisteria grown against a wall will also benefit if you prune those shoots not required to increase the overall size of the plant; cut them back to about a foot (30 cm) in length in

August. Other climbers may also have unwanted stems that should be cut back to keep them in bounds.

Apart from that, and an occasional spray against aphids, there is little that needs to be done except sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labours.


As the temperatures drop, the plants start to become dormant and shed their leaves. Now’s the time to stop feeding your plants and prepare them for the winter.

The most important task at this time of the year, as far as climbers are concerned, is to ensure that they are securely tied to their supports. Old ties should also be inspected to see if they are cutting into the plants’ stems, and if necessary replaced using soft twine. The smaller shoots can be tied in using paper-covered wire ties.

Seed from clematis can also be gathered and sown immediately. They don’t need protection from frost, which they actually need for germination, but they do have to be shielded from the attentions of mice and birds. A covering of chicken wire will normally do the trick.

Plants in containers should be continually checked to see if they have dried out. After a period of frost the compost can become very dry, and plants can succumb to drought even at this time of the year.


This is the time to plan for next year. But don’t dig out the planting holes in preparation. If you do this, not only will you end up with a series of tiny ponds, but the soil will become cold. If you leave digging to the moment of planting, then the soil will still be warm.

Wisterias can be given their final prune, cutting back those stems pruned in August to an inch or two (a few centimetres) from the main shoot. The later-flowering clematis can also be tidied up in preparation for their final pruning in February or March.

22. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Climber Plants | Tags: | Comments Off on Clematis Care – Schedule of Caring for Clematis


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