Eleven Tips for Growing Clematis Successfully
vines are probably the most popular flowering vine in the
world. Their showy nature works very well in most garden
settings as long as you give them some basic care:
begin with, they really do want a minimum of six full hours of sunshine
every day. Without that, you'll find the number of
blooms will decrease and the plant will not be as healthy. Full sun is
excellent. If you grow them in the South, you'll
find that a light shade will help the bloom colours from fading.
the right soil is critical if you want to succeed with
Clematis. This plant adores a rich, organic soil that is
heavily amended with compost. There is little point in
putting this plant into clay soils as it will not thrive.
Similarly, hot sandy soils will not allow the vine to grow to its full
plant, did a hole approximately two feet by two feet and approximately
twelve inches deep. The soil from the hole should be amended
with compost before backfilling the plant. I generally use
one shovel of compost for every two shovels of original soil.
Carefully take the clematis out of its pot. Cut
away fibre pots or slide the plant carefully out of plastic
pots. The objective is to minimize root
Put the root ball into
the hole so the original soil line is approximately three to five
inches below your garden soil line. This puts the bud down
three to five inches.
If the plant is dormant and the buds are not swelling or showing green,
you can backfill the hole to the original soil level.
if the plant has any active growth or bud swelling that will be covered
over by backfilling to this garden soil depth, you can not cover active
In the case of active growth, only backfill to the
original pot soil line. This means you'll grow the clematis
in a bit of a hollow for the summer but you'll finish
backfilling to the garden's soil line in the fall after the
plant has gone dormant.
Our objective is to get that bud down three to five inches but not to cover over growth that will rot or die
if covered with soil.
come with a stake in the pot.
remove this stake on newly planted clematis
the stake can easily lead to the plant flopping about in the wind and
breaking something you don't want broken. Remove
the stake in the late fall as part of your garden cleanup (you do clean
up your garden don't you?) :-)
Clematis are shallow-rooted
vines and keeping those roots cool and evenly moist (protected from the
hot sun's rays) is our gardening objective. The
easiest way to do this is to mulch the plant. Add three to
four inches of organic mulch (not rocks) around the base of the
plant. Keep the mulch eight to twelve inches or so away from
the base of the vines to avoid any rot and mouse damage. (mice
sometimes hide in overwintering mulch and chew off tender bark for
lunch) Organic mulch is used because as it decomposes, it
provides nourishment for the clematis. Rocks do not decompose quickly
enough to be of benefit to the plant. :-)
water at least weekly and do water deeply. Remember this
plant likes even moisture so check under the mulch during the heat of
the summer to ensure the soil is damp. Do not plant this vine
where the ground is wet as winter wetness will rot it off.
vines are heavy feeders. I like to use compost every spring
with several shovels full being applied around the base of each plant.
And when the new vines are two to three inches long, I'll
usually give them a boost of fish food emulsion.
nitrogen in the liquid emulsion really gets those vines growing. I note
that feeding a high nitrogen chemical food (a little too much nitrogen)
may stop blooming rather than enhance it because you'll grow huge vines
at the expense of flower production.
Clematis is a vine so they do need some
kind of support in most garden settings (I have grown them and simply
let them wander around and over the perennials; it is an interesting
thing to do).
You'll require trellis
or arbors for support or even nearby shrubs. I once used a
Beautybush as a support for a yellow-flowering C. tangutica and after
three years you couldn't see the shrub (it had died because
the clematis shaded it out).
You can grow clematis in a patio
container or hanging basket with no trouble.
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you will see the odd aphid or whitefly on your vine, the major problem
is a fungi that causes the clematis to suddenly wilt (which is why the
problem is called "Wilt"
fungi get into the stem and work their way up the plant causing it to
wilt as they go. The stems and leaves will turn black as
The key to wilt (there
is no spray for it)
is to plant deeply and grow with large amounts of compost. The deep
planting and compost enable the clematis to
"outgrow" the fungus.
your plant does show signs of wilting, simply cut off the wilting vines
and remove them from your garden (in a plastic bag). Remember that this
is a fungus and we want to do this as carefully and neatly as possible
so we don't spread fungal spores around.
Disinfecting clippers with alcohol or strong detergent is a good idea
before they are used on other plants (especially clemati
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