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Pruning Clematis In Early Spring

Category: How-To Projects

clematisWe have a purple clematis that climbs up the south side of our screen porch. It’s  a summer blooming variety  so I prune it in the Spring. (Spring blooming clematis are usually pruned the previous fall.)

I worked my way up from the bottom, clipping off dead wood right next to emerging buds. I was wearing my Womanswork “Digger” garden gloves  (in teal blue).

When working with a tangle of vines and leaves and side shoots, it’s easy to make the mistake of cutting vines that you wish you hadn’t. I know because I did it one year. This time I was careful to untangle the long vines to separate them from the little side shoots that attach themselves to them. Some of the side shoots that wrap their tendrils around the longer vines are worth keeping because they provide support.

I use teacup hooks to hold the vines to the side of the house.

After I finish my pruning it looks much neater and the buds will have more air and light to help them grow. There is nothing more for me to do but wait until June to see the beautiful deep purple flowers. Last year, according to my garden notebook, our clematis was blooming the last week in June, but this year it may bloom earlier. So far, everything else in my garden is happening a lot earlier than last year.

4 thoughts on “Pruning Clematis In Early Spring

  1. Every year my white clematis gets the black spots on the leaves after first bloom.Then I cut the black spot areas off as well as the first spent blooms.Miraculously the clematis blooms again in the late fall.I have my clematis on a wire trellis that stays in the ground year round.

  2. THank you very much for both the tool sharpening and pruning
    tips, some i already practiced, other not so lucky. Learning is
    a great adventure and dealing with Mother Nature and plants
    is always a learning process, each year something different
    happens and makes more adventures.

    Cherie Bonesteele—

  3. I have 2 Clematis plants next to each other. One just had one flower blooming (April 23) and the other one’s leaves are turning brown. What should I fertilize them with?

  4. Hi Inge,
    You may not want to fertilize at this point. Check to see what is happening at the roots. Has it been damaged or eaten at ground level? Are the leaves on all the stems turning brown? If so, check to see if there is new growth emerging anywhere and cut back to that point. Be sure to keep the roots damp and cool with an application of shredded leaves or compost. good luck with this. I hope this advice is helpful.

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