Pruning Clematis - Knowledgebase Question

BaskingRidge, NJ
Avatar for jmacomber9
Question by jmacomber9
December 20, 1997
I have a jackmanii clematis which I believe blooms on current year's wood so it can be pruned after flowering. However, it is intertwined with another white smaller flowering clematis which I do not know the name of. The white flower hardly blooms. I would like to get more flowers on both. My question is, which of the following should I try first: pruning after flowering, fertilizing, manuring, cutting back and separating completely? Both are in afternoon sun position but flowers are few.

Answer from NGA
December 20, 1997
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. My guess for why the white one rarely flowers is a lot of root competition. If it is planted close enough to the jackmanii that they are intertwined, it sounds like the jackmanii has taken over...survival of the fittest and all of that. Is there any possibility of moving the white? That would give it a chance to establish it's roots in a less crowded environment. Clematis do enjoy a rich, humusy soil. Give them lots of organic matter such as compost or composted manure. If you do want to move the white, you can also work in a bit of bone meal to help the roots geta good start. Clematis enjoy 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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