Planting Clematis

Written by Debra Wyatt (last updated March 11, 2022)

Clematis is a vine that is part of the buttercup family. This plant has over 250 species, as well as numerous garden-type hybrids. The leaf stalk will twine like that of a tendril. (A tendril is a modified leaf that will twist tightly around a thin support.)

During the spring through the fall this particular vine is very attractive. The flowers of this plant are very showy. They don't have any real petals as you might expect; they have anywhere from four to eight petal-like sepals. Each plant can have as many as 100 blooms per plant in one season and have very fragrant blooms (the hybrids are not as fragrant). During the winter this vine is found to be very unattractive, with the bare stems looking like a tangled up mess.

To have the clematis produce the beautiful flowers a lot depends on how they are planted and what type of care is given to the plant from the very beginning.

When planting clematis you will want to bury the crown of the plant about three inches below the ground. Be sure to remove any leaves that may be on the plant. This helps the stems to grow from the base of the plant and to grow faster.

The clematis requires a lot of water. When watering you will want to water deeply and frequently until the plant has established itself. The plant also needs good drainage. Sitting water will encourage pests and disease.

Roots of the clematis like to stay cool. To help keep the roots of the plant cool, try planting a plant with large leaves with a shallow root system, something like a hosta plant.

So, it is best to keep the roots in the shade and the plant in the sun. To help accomplish this, plant where the flower is in the sun at least four hours a day. Many of the different varieties will do well in full sun, they also do okay with a filtered light. In fact the pastel colored hybrid varieties blooms are more intense if placed in shadier locations. There are varieties where the plant does need some encouragement in flowering. Try putting super-phosphate on the soil when planting the plant. After the plants have matured than apply the super-phosphate in the spring and then again in the middle of June. As a reward for this added effort you will get a lot more beautiful colored blossoms.

Be cautious as you prune. When the stems are young and if they seem to be thin, pinch the leaves back to where the buds are. This will help to thicken the stems, making them stronger, while also encouraging the plant to produce more stems.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...


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