Soils for Successful Clematis Growing

growing clematis

Growing Clematis – Soils

The better the soil, the more success you will have with growing clematis and climber plants. Alas, there are very few gardens with really good soil. But fortunately there is such a wide choice of plants available these days that you will be able to grow something, no matter how poor your soil is.

Garden Compost and Manure for Climber Plants

Your garden soil can also be improved quite dramatically over a period of time by adding organic material in the form of well-rotted manure or garden compost. If your soil is dry and sandy, then either of these materials will eventually make it more water-retentive. Heavy clay soils will also become easier to work, provided you only use manure that contains a high proportion of straw.

The primary object is to retain as much water as possible during the growing season but to allow excess water to drain away freely during the dormant period. If you dig in plenty of organic matter before planting, this should start the ball rolling. Follow this up with annual mulches of manure, compost or bark when the soil is moist, and you will eventually have the perfect growing medium.

Feeding Clematis and Clematis Fertilizers

It is a myth that clematis need lime in order to grow satisfactorily. Many species in fact grow on very acid soils in their native countries, and all clematis will tolerate a wide range of pH values. On the other hand, what they do require is large amounts of nutrients.

Clematis are greedy feeders and impossible to overfeed. However, if you want them to give of their best and provide an abundant display of flowers, then you should avoid nitrogenous fertilisers in favour of those which are high in potash. The perfect fertilisers are those designed for roses. If you apply these at the same strength and with the same frequency, this will ensure a magnificent show year after year.

Potash has been described as sunshine in a bottle’ – a very apt description for the plant food that not only makes plants flower freely but also increases the depth of colour in the flowers. It also improves the plants’ winter hardiness by stimulating them to make sugars in the sap, which raises the freezing point in much the same way as anti-freeze in a car. So watering with tomato fertiliser every other week will also improve your clematis.

What’s good for clematis is also good for other climbers. Indeed, the same treatment can be applied to most climbers. The flowering climbers such as wisterias will certainly benefit. However, some caution is needed when feeding plants grown for their foliage – especially evergreens such as the ivies. Too much fertiliser will make them grow more than you perhaps require, and can also lead to soft growth that is liable to be scorched by the sun or by cold winter winds.

28. September 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Climber Plants, Garden Management, Plants & Trees, Soil Cultivation | Tags: | Comments Off on Soils for Successful Clematis Growing


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