The Q&A Archives: Extending Bloom Period of Clematis

Question: We have several types of clematis, and while they have grown successfully over the years, their blooms don't seem to last as long as others we've seen in the area. Do they rebloom if dead-headed? Is there something we have failed to do? We cut them back each year as suggested by our garden center, and they have gotten stronger and bushier...but still don't bloom for long. What do you suggest?

Answer: Most clematis do not have a long bloom period. There are some that bloom intermittently, however, if you look carefully at the varieties available. Different types of clematis requiring different pruning methods. Those that bloom on both old growth and current season growth can be encouraged to rebloom at different intervals by selective spring pruning. Remove only part of the oldest growth at the normal time for spring pruning. This will cause a flush of bloom early in the season. Remove the remainder a bit later to cause a second flush of bloom on that later pruned portion of the plant. Neither flush will be as spectacular as it would had the entire plant bloomed at one time, but it will spread it out. Some gardeners will plant two different types of clematis together to extend the season, others will use a clematis to extend the blooming season by planting it on a flowering shrub, rose or tree.

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