Clematis Clues


Clematis Betty Corning, July 4th 2010
More Lovely with Age

  • Every flowering season will be better than the one before if your Clematis is well contented in its place. As plants settle in to your land over time, individual Clematis vines of generally long blooming varieties will usually produce more blossoms in each subsequent year, which adds to the length of their overall blooming season in your garden, so be patient.
  • This increasing ebullience seems to have to do mostly with the ever larger root system, since even those kinds that are completely cut down to 1’ of stems at the end of each season show this effect, as long as you have respected the habit of growth of the plant in your tying and considered the timing of the pruning of the kind you are growing.
    For further information on such matters, please see my article on Pruning Clematis.

Stay Ahead of your Vines

The upcoming performance of a climbing plant will depend alot on the support it has been given.

  • Hopeful tendrils, if encouraged by tying up, will send up more new shoots. The further along the vine can get, the more lovely and long blooming it will usually prove.
    Weekly tying will probably be necessary as the vine grows into its place before flowering.
    The process can be a lot to keep up with, but it makes all the difference.
  • A wonderful, simple invention you can get from Bosmere Tool Co. called a ‘lever loop’ allows you, in the blink of an eye, to clasp shoots of clematis and other climbing plants to one another or to any nearby slender structure with no cutting or tying with bits of string. The clips can be moved around anytime, last for years, and are inexpensive to begin with. They will improve your relationships with all your climbing plants.

Clematis Princess Diana, July 4th
Lead The Willing

  •  To get your climbers started off right, you’ll need to have something in place to encourage the very beginning of their climbs.
    With a newly arrived Clematis I usually remove the bamboo or metal scaffold used to support the plant in the nursery pot because this will be harder to do later, and the temporary pot support is usually not the right thing to keep in the landscape. If the vine has twined through its structure and can’t be untangled easily, I sometimes cut the supports apart in many places, sacrificing them instead of the tendrils of the oncoming vine. You might need wire cutters.
  • The lowest element of the new support structure is important and usually should be no more than a foot or so off the ground. If your structure is further away, you can gather the new shoots together with twine and then tie this bundle with a suitable length of twine to the lowest rung or tying place you do have. The shoots will try to climb this, but for best results and easiest management, assist them onto a truly climbable structure as soon as possible.
  • The important thing will be that the intersecting joints of the applied structure should somehow create weaving and tying places through which you can fasten the oncoming vines. The support should be held at least an inch or so away from the wall or other attachment surface so there is a ‘behind’ to weave vines into easily with fingers, lever loops and/or twine. Simple wooden straps, lattice or any desired wood, wire or iron support can each be fine if appropriate in the circumstances.
    A friend of mine was eyeing a flat bedspring she had saved from an old single bed. She saw that its form could be usefully pressed into service for her vine of choice. With a little spray paint of a chosen color, it could be camouflaged against its background, then covered with climbing leafery.


  • When a new Clematis is planted I always put a croquet hoop over its (vulnerable) place of origin to protect the crown of the plant, and to remind me just where it is. I leave it there to discourage feet of persons or other creatures.
  • I have also been advised by Clematis nurseries not to use slow release fertilisers when the Clematis are young.
  • For lots more information, please link to my article about Long Blooming Clematis.


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  • All written and visual materials on this site are Copyrighted. (C) Ellen Cool 2010 - 2019


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