Pruning Clematis - Knowledgebase Question

Cutler, IN
Question by rcwatson
July 22, 1999
My Jackmank clematis has stopped blooming. It is approximately 5 feet tall What do I do in regards to pruning it. It is 6 years old and I have never done anyting to it since I didn't know what to do. It is very thick and brownish looking. I feel something needs to be done, but I don't want to kill the beautiful plant.I don't know how much water to put on it either since it appears almost "dormant" There are a few new shoots growing out from it however.

I also have a light lavender one (I think it's a Nellie Moser) which is still blooming, What do I do in the way of pruning on it? We just moved it to a new location and it is a small approximately 2 feet tall clematis.

Answer from NGA
July 22, 1999


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 (such as jackmanii) 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. Clematis enjoy a rich, humusy soil. Give them lots of organic matter such as compost or composted manure. Clematis prefer having their heads in the sun and their feet in the shade, so mulch is helpful to keep roots cool and to keep competing weeds at bay.

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