The Q&A Archives: Pruning Clematis

Question: I recently moved and inherited two beautiful and very large clematis vines. A friend asked me whether I was going to cut them back and said some clematis need to be cut back and some don't. My question is should I cut my clematis back or not? I'm sure I have one which is a Jackmanii but I'm not sure about the other. It is more of a fushia color Marti Johnson Cincinnati, OH

Answer: Named varieties of hybrid clematis bloom in 2 different ways: some bloom on wood grown the previous year and some on wood grown in the same year. Clematis in the Jackman group of hybrids bloom on new growth (wood grown in the same year). You'll have to watch where the blossoms occur on the other clematis to determine if they are on new or old wood. If you wish to prune the Jackman clematis, do so in spring as the buds swell or slightly before. You can prune to within 4-6" of the base if you wish. If the other clematis flowers on old wood, prune dead and broken growth in the spring. After flowering, a portion of old shoots should be cut back severely.

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