The Q&A Archives: pruning of Clematis

Question: I bought two Monrovia Rouge Cardinal Clematis vines last year and was wondering if I should prune them back this spring or do they flower on 'old' wood? They are not established very well and the vines look quite tattered and spindley at this time. I can see a bit of green coming though so I know that they are still alive!!
Thank you for your time.
Carol Webb

Answer: Rouge Cardinal Clematis is considered a group 3 clematis when it comes to pruning. These are among the late large-flowered cultivars, putting on their show from late June through September. These bloom on new wood from the current season's growth so you don't need to maintain any old wood. They should be cut back to a living bud at about 24" from the ground in spring just as the buds swell. If you don't prune, the flowers will tend to be only up at the top of the plant and the bare stems will be unattractive below. Enjoy your clematis!

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