The Q&A Archives: Evergreen Clematis

Question: I just bought two Evergreen Clematis (Clematis armandi "Snowdrift"). How long will they grow in one year? When should I prune them, and how much should I cut off? I know some clematis only flower on old growth and others only bloom on new growth. Thanks for your expertise.

Answer: Plant your Clematis where the tops will be in full sun and the roots will remain cool and moist. You can achieve this by planting a shrub just in front of the Clematis to help shade the bottom of the plant, or mulching the soil heavily over the root area. Clematis need constant moisture and regular feeding to keep them growing vigorously. Your armandi is fast growing to 20' and should blossom during the spring months. Don't expect much from them this year, though, because it will take them a full season to become established before they're ready to put out new growth. Prune after flowering, remembering that it will bloom only on the previous year's wood. Thin the center of the plant, and pinch out some of the growing tips on the vines to keep the plant under control.

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