The Q&A Archives: Clematis Flowers

Question: I get around 5 flowers to around 200 dead, dried up buds. Only pest I have seen are snails. On a west wall with sun and shade. Any idea how to get more flowers?

Answer: There are about 200 species of Clematis, but most have the same cultural requirements: roots that are kept cool, moist and shaded, and tops that receive full sunshine. Clematis need constant moisture and nutrients to make them grow vigorously and produce an abundance of blooms. Spring-blooming clematis bloom only on the previous year's wood. Summer and fall-blooming clematis bloom on wood produced in the spring. The kind you have will dictate your pruning technique. Pruning encourages new woody growth that will sprout stems that will develop blossom buds. If buds are forming but drying up before they open, I'd suspect your plant isn't being fed or watered as often as it needs. Feed monthly during the growing season and water regularly, making sure the entire root mass gets thoroughly wet. (You can test by digging down near the roots to see how deeply the water is penetrating.) Try pinching back the tips of the stems to encourage new blooms, and feed and water regularly. Better luck with your Clematis!

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