The Q&A Archives: pruning clematis

Question: My 3-yr clematis is becoming very bushy around the base of the plant and not growing up on the trellis very well. Should I prune the base back to promote growth upward?

Answer: I would be inclined to leave the lower growth alone. Clematis likes its head in the sun but the roots shaded. By developing a lot of lower foliage, your plant is actually shading the root area which will encourage lots of new growth. I would leave the foliage at the base of the plant alone and wait patiently for it to grow upward on its own. It should - soon.

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