Clematis Pruning 101

The Basics

Pruning Clematis is essential in ensuring repeated flowering, encouraging strong growth and maintaining that perfect shape that suits your garden.

The main pruning season is late Winter-early Spring

There are 3 different main pruning groups that Clematis are divided into based on the time of flowering and the age of flowering wood. So without further adieu let’s get to know our pruning groups!

This group of Clematis needs no regular pruning as they bloom on old wood. The usually bloom in mid-late Spring after the threat of frost has passed. All you need to do is remove the faded flowers Later on, it may need some additional thinning out and training but it is certainly the most low maintenance of the 3 groups.

Group 1 Clematis include Clematis Montana, Clematis Armandii and Montana varieties.

This group should be pruned in February and again after the first flourish of flowers in early Summer. It mainly consists of the large-flowered varieties and blooms on old and new wood so it is also a tricky one!

They will flower in May/June and some flower again in late Summer on new growth. As soon as flowering is over, cut the flowers back to the large bud immediately below the flower.

Your main goal is to retain a framework of old wood and also to stimulate new shoots in order to maximize flowering throughout the season.

Another option is to leave clematis in this group unpruned, and then hard prune them to 30-90cm (1–3ft) from the base every three or four years in late winter.

Group 2 Clematis including Dutchess of Edinburgh, The President and Nelly Moser

This group should be pruned in February to allow for mid-late Summer flowering. This Clematis group continues growing from where it ended the previous year. If left unpruned, the flowers will eventually end up right at the top leaving naked bare branches underneath. The key is to prune back hard in February to the lowest pair of buds.

Group 3 Clematis include Aljonushka and Royal Velours

This can be done to extend the flowering season for mid to late Summer flowering Clematis. Simply cut some stems to the base while retaining the basic framework and you should have prolific blooms for even longer!

If flowers before June, do not prune. If flowers mid-late Summer, prune in February!

More helpful tips

Flip to find out more on Clematis care!

Extra Tips

It is very important to prune even young Clematis if you wish to reap the rewards of a good bloom year on year. First year Clematis should be kept to 18-24 inches regardless of the pruning code.

After pruning, it is always good to feed with a good, all purpose fertilizer and lime as needed.

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