The Q&A Archives: Clematis Care

Question: My clematis has small leaves and small blooms. I noticed this spring that the roots were visible. I covered them with approximately an inch of topsoil. Should I replant it deeper into the ground? Should clematis be fertilized? Thank you very much for your help.

Answer: You didn't mention what type you have, but the commonly grown Jackmanii hybrids are vigorous plants that flower on new wood, and flower best if the plant is severely pruned in the early spring, just as the buds begin to swell. Make sure your plant has reasonable fertility and moist soil (not soggy). The plants do best in rich, loose, fast draining soil, with the roots shaded and the tops in full sunshine. Now that you've added some soil over the top of the roots, (which was a good idea), you might want to add an inch or two of organic mulch. This will help the soil retain moisture and provide nutrients as the mulch material breaks down. You might also want to apply a phosphorous source, such as bone meal, which promotes blooming. Scratch it into the soil where the roots are actively growing and water well after applying.

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