Not all clematis should be pruned the same way. Learn the difference.

Clematis are some our best-loved flowering climbers but although they may be easy to grow given the right conditions, there is often confusion on how to prune and care for them. Our comprehnsive guide will show you how to properly care for your Clematis plants.

Clematis Culture

The best time to plant Clematis is Spring, Summer or early Fall in a location which gets 5-6 hours of sunlight.

Clematis roots are long, run deep and like it cool and damp, but not soggy. It is a good idea to plant annuals around the
base of the Clematis, plant a low-growing shrub to shade the roots, or mulch the ground around the base of the Clematis
plant to help keep the soil and roots cool.

Loosen the soil to a depth of two feet. Mix this soil with peat and sand. When removing the Clematis from the pot,
don’t break the soil ball – cut the pot on both sides where the trellis attaches to the pot so you can get the plant out
safely. Carefully set your Clematis plant in the hole and stake it. It is recommended that a piece of screen be loosely
wrapped around the plant the first year to prevent animals from breaking or eating off the stem. The stake should be
placed towards the trellis, etc. to train the plant to its permanent support.

Keep your Clematis watered–do not let it dry out. In years to come, always soak thoroughly once a week in dry
weather. Feed twice a year with a balanced granular fertilizer or a good water-soluble fertilizer. Clematis are sensitive
to over watering, so place the plant in a well-drained area.

Apply a mulch around the base of your Clematis through the Winter dormant months. Prune the following year based
on the pruning techniques listed below.

Pruning Techniques


This group of clematis produce their flowers directly from old stems, and therefore, pruning must not be done until right after all flowering has been completed. Prune this group by removing all dead and weak stems immediately after flowering. Large established plants over 15 feet are normally not pruned, especially if they are growing in trees. All stems at this time should be tied into position on their trellis or other host. Also, if the Clematis have outgrown their space, the correct and only time to prune to size is right after flowering is done. After pruning, new growth will begin; this being the stems for next year’s flowers.


In this group, all first flowering comes from last season’s ripened stems. In early Spring, watch for swelling leaf buds beginning to show. Cut all dead material off above these swelling buds. Be sure all growth is tied to trellis, etc. at this time. Do not tie too tightly, so growth can begin and not be hampered by tying too tight or cracking these stems.


This group blooms later and from new growth. Prune this group in late March or the first of April as new as
new leaf buds begin to show low on the plant. All dead material above these buds should be removed at this time.

Pruning Groups and Care Information

These clematis produce their flowers directly from old stems. Pruning must not be done until right after

  • Blue Light
  • Hyde Hall
  • Montana Rubens Odorata
  • Paniculata Sweet Autumn

First flowering comes from last season’s ripened stems. Watch for swelling leaf buds in spring and cut all dead material off above the buds.

  • Amethyst Beauty
  • Artctic Queen
  • Asao
  • Avant-Gard
  • Bees Jubilee
  • Blue Moon
  • Bourbon
  • Diana’s Delight
  • Dr. Ruppel
  • Duchess of Edinburgh
  • Elsa Spath
  • Empress
  • Fairy Blue “Crystal Foundation”
  • Fireworks
  • Fllorida Sieboldii
  • Flora Filgree
  • Frankska Maria
  • General Sikorski
  • Guernsey Cream
  • Hakuba
  • Henryi
  • Ice Blue
  • John Warren
  • Josephine
  • Ken Donson
  • Killian Donahue
  • Languinosa Candida
  • Laurstern
  • Liberation
  • Mrs. N. Thompson
  • Multi-Blue
  • Nelly Moser
  • Niobe
  • Pink Champagne
  • President (The)
  • Ramona
  • Rebecca
  • Regency
  • Sho-un
  • Snow Queen
  • Sugar Candy
  • Sunset
  • Vino
  • Violet Elizabeth
  • Vyvyan Pennel
  • Warsaw Nike
  • Will Goodwin

These bloom later and form new growth. Prune in late March or early April as new buds begin to show; remove all dead material above these buds.

  • Allanah
  • Comtesse De Bouchard
  • Daniel Deronda
  • Earnest Markham
  • Florida Alba Plena
  • Hagley Hybrids
  • Jackmanii
  • Jackmanii Superba
  • Petite Faucon
  • Red Cardinal
  • Royal Velvet
  • Tangutica Russian Virgin’s Bower
  • Texensis (Duchess of Albany)
  • Ville de Lyon
  • Vitic Purpurea Plena Elegans
  • Vitic Venosa Violet Stargazer
  • Viticella Polish Spirit


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