The Q&A Archives: Transplanting Clematis

Question: I was just forced to dig up a clematis which was 10 years old, because we moved. I have it in a large bucket, the roots are surrounded with dirt. It's Feb, and I won't be able to plant it outside until spring. What should I do with it until then? Should it be in the garage(unheated), the cool basement, do I mist it? Please help, it has been my grandmother's pride and joy!

Answer: If it were me, I would try to keep it in a sheltered location outside, such as against the house. If you bring it indoors, it may break its dormancy too early. I would simply place the pot against the house and pile some straw on top of it. Be sure to put it in a spot where it will receive moisture when it rains. You could keep it in the garage as long as it stays pretty cool (40 degrees or so) and you keep it moist but nowhere near wet. I probably would not mist it. I would also transplant it outdoors as soon as the ground is workable. Keep in mind that this disturbance will set the clematis back a bit in terms of blooming. When you do replant in the spring, be sure to add some organic matter such as compost, leaf mould or composted cow manure to the planting hole as a treat to kind of "make up" for the offense! The clematis will surely forgive you.

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