Climber Plants – Buying Clematis Plants and Planting Clematis

Planting Clematis and Climbing Plants

All climber plants these days are grown and sold in pots. Then, provided the ground is neither too dry nor too cold, you can plant them out at any time of the year.

planting clematis

Buying Clematis Plants – The Right One

Before you can start planting, you first have to purchase the right clematis plant, and this is where a lot of gardeners make those choices that so often lead to failure. It’s all too easy to be carried away by a plant covered in flowers, and to forget that what you really need is a good set of roots with some well-balanced top growth. Plants often flower profusely in pots if they’ve been neglected. They think they are going to die, so produce copious amounts of flower in order to set seed. Such plants seldom thrive, or at best they take time to settle down.

You also need to make sure the plant is ‘nursery-fresh’ by looking at the top layer of compost. If it has a caked appearance, or if there are weeds growing or a layer of moss, then don’t buy the plant. These are all signs of neglect at some stage, as is a lack of leaves or yellowing on the growing stems.

Clematis, particularly some of the hybrids, will naturally throw out roots from the base of the pot; this is perfectly acceptable provided all the other conditions are met. Honeysuckles, on the other hand, really loathe being potbound, and can sulk for years if they have been planted in this condition.

Planting Clematis – Procedure

Although planting clematis and other climbers can be done at any time of the year, the best time to do this is undoubtedly the early spring, when the soil has warmed up but is still relatively moist.

With most climbers you should dig a hole a couple of spits deep and a spade and a half in width. Incorporate a good amount of well-rotted compost or other organic matter into the base of the hole, place the plant in the hole and fill up with soil until the soil ball of the plant is slightly below the surface.

planting clematis When planting clematis however, they require a very different sort of treatment. They are best planted somewhat deeper than other climbers, allowing a few buds to remain below the soil level. This procedure will enable the roots to put up new shoots if the top of the plant dies, and it also makes for a much bushier and sturdier plant.

Once you have worked out the optimum planting depth, knock the plant carefully out of its pot, taking great care not to break any of the stems. Then immediately place it in position, still taking care so as not to disturb the soil ball.

First place a small quantity of soil around the plant in order to keep it nicely stable. Then start to fill in the planting hole by breaking down the sides with a fork. This stops the soil around the plant becoming compacted, and is more important with heavier soils. If the sides of the hole are too compacted, they can act almost like the walls of a pot, eventually stopping the plant from developing. As you replace the soil, firm it in gently, preferably with the heel of your foot. This is to bring the plant into good contact with the soil without destroying the structure of the soil (using the whole foot can do just that).

Finally, tidy up around the clematis plant and then water it. Even if the soil is already moist, the action of the water will help to wash the soil around the roots so that the plant settles in straight away.

18. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Climber Plants | Tags: | Comments Off on Climber Plants – Buying Clematis Plants and Planting Clematis


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