The Q&A Archives: How to Get a "Bushy" Clematis

Question: Our one-year old clematis is really taking off. Not only did the old vines from last summer green up, but there are new shoots starting to climb. However, the vines seem to grow straight and get "tangled up" at the top of the trellis. How can we train the stems to grow "bushy" and fill in the middle part of the trellis?

Answer: After it grows to a height of 2 feet, clematis can be pinched and trained. Spring- blooming clematis produce their flowers on last year's growth, so delay pruning until after the bloom period; then cut off any damaged stems and shape the vine. Summer-flowering types, which include the large-flowered hybrids, must be pruned in late winter or very early spring, because their flowers bloom on the current year's growth. Be patient since it takes up to seven years for clematis to reach dense flowering maturity.

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