The Q&A Archives: Clematis: To prune or not to prune

Question: I have the following clematis: Will Goody, Piilu, Jackamii, and Niobe. I would like to know whether to prune, and if so, when to prune. Also, I would like to know how to get them to flourish more. I had them for 2 years, and thus far, had so so performance (no flower density). Do I deadhead? Do I use a specific type of fertilizer?(I used Miracle-Gro fertilizer last year.)

Answer: Clematis usually require about three years to become fully established and begin to bloom their best. They will grow best in full sun or at least a half a day of direct full sun. (In too shady a location they may not bloom very well.)

Their roots should be well mulched year round. This helps keep the soil evenly moist (damp not sopping wet) which is what they prefer.

Topdressing with compost once or twice a year will help feed the soil, as will using an organic mulch. You could also use a general purpose granular or slow release fertilizer with an analysis of 10-10-10 or similar proportions; read and follow the label directions for how to apply it.

Deadheading will not harm the plant but with a full grown vine can be a little bit impractical. Correct pruning can help maximize bloom. Here is a general guide to clematis pruning and care you may find helpful.

Enjoy your clematis this year!

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