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May 23, 2015 8:12 AM CST
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
we've got it in a large box at the moment, been in there for five years now and doing great! this years flowers were the most impressive its ever put out! however- its getting a bit thick around the middle so to speak and looking at it im finding it nearly impossible to find a starting place. I get the whole "pruning group 2/thinning it out" thing, but im curious about just how far to take it. its got 5 main stems coming out of the soil, one of them is the original stem that sprouted 5 years ago. its nearly 1/2 of an inch thick. im thinking about removing this one main stem to free up some space and thin it out overall. I thought I would use the same logic as when pruning a hydrangea. remove the older stems, thin it out, promote new shoots at the base? however im not sure if that logic necessarily applies to clematis vines... thoughts?

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May 23, 2015 10:23 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
It all depends on the amount of courage you have and the fact it will sprout up from the base (give it Epsom Salt to encourage it). Mine just began blooming though I cut it to the base back on May 2nd.

You can do anything you want. Some folks cut it back by one third, others by a half, and yet others will be brutal (like me) and cut it back to the earth.

May 2, 2015
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May 23, 2013 (11:28 AM)
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May 23, 2015 11:10 AM CST
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
given that it will only bloom next year on new growth that's put on this year, I thought about going all the way to the ground with it, promoting nothing BUT new growth. but I also know that the remaining existing stems will also produce new growth of their own. and I also didn't know if it was good for the plant, to be so drastic.
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May 23, 2015 1:22 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Drastic pruning is sometimes required. Just don't be afraid to take a chance. I'd say you cut the left side and not the right side, but once you get into a job like that you just might end up drinking and wishing I'd disappear.

Do whatever makes you feel comfortable.

This should alleviate your fears and bring a few chuckles as well. The main point being, "No one ever killed a clematis by pruning it".
http://hummingbirdfarm.net/cle...
Last edited by pirl Apr 11, 2016 11:15 AM Icon for preview
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May 24, 2015 8:47 AM CST
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
WOW! what a pain! Thumbs down we ended up removing about half the plant. not on purpose though. we had trouble with the so called "thinning" process. one stem led to another, which then led to three others, in turn then leading to another dozen... well, its thinned out to say the least! I guess we'll find out...
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May 24, 2015 9:25 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Yes, that's how you find out so take photos so you'll know how much you cut back in 2015 and how it bloomed after that.
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May 24, 2015 9:59 PM CST
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
it should do pretty good. its already started putting on new growth for next years flowers. now im very curious...!
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May 26, 2015 9:20 PM CST
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I don't think I have ever been able to prune 1/2 of a vine. It's all or none for me too.
Good time to fertilize
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May 27, 2015 7:18 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Me, neither. When it's wound around a metal trellis and hard to work with, I can do it, but then it's just cutting it back to 5 or 6'. Then, in winter, I cut the base and rip the rest of the clematis off the trellis. I agree, Anna, prune, then fertilize to jump start it.
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Jun 6, 2015 5:23 AM CST
Name: Karen
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Garden Art Region: Minnesota Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
I am new to all this pruning also and it scares me to death but I know it has to be done. I have a friend who just whacks all her Clem's off at the ground every year not knowing which group any of them are in. Hers are all loaded with flowers each year. Is she just lucky or could any of the groups be cut off like that and still produce flowers.

When you cut them down you mentioned fertilizing them. What is the fertilizer of choice??
Happiness is doing for those who cannot do for themselves.
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Jun 6, 2015 8:04 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Class 1 clematises want no pruning at all. Eventually they may need a very serious haircut but in the meantime, no pruning. Ours is here over 20 years and only now needs the serious trim. Thumb of 2015-06-06/pirl/6c7d91

Class 2 are the late spring bloomers like Pink Champagne, Fireworks, and so many more - probably the most popular class of clematises. Everyone seems to have their own method for pruning them. You'll see on various sites to prune them by half after they bloom, or prune by one third, or there are some people who will prune to the bottom set of buds in Feb/Mar/Apr. I prune down low in early spring for most of them but only because I don't want broken stems (can lead to problems).

Class 3 - be brave and prune down to the lowest pair of buds in Feb/Mar/Apr and have no fear. They zoom back into growth so fast and consume things like my light post. Thumb of 2015-06-06/pirl/5d7279
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Jun 6, 2015 11:15 AM CST
Name: Karen
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Garden Art Region: Minnesota Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
Thanks Arlene. So aren't 2 and 3 a lot alike or did I miss something??
Happiness is doing for those who cannot do for themselves.
Last edited by Cookies4kids Jun 6, 2015 1:47 PM Icon for preview
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Jun 6, 2015 1:36 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Class 2 gets cut back immediately after blooming. General instructions are to wait until it's actively growing in spring, April to May, and remove any scraggly (dead looking) top growth then but I'm cutting it back to neaten up, not for maximum flowers.

There's also a class 2 that borders on 3 - Niobe being the most common one. With that you can cut half the stems to the ground and leave the rest. I'm sure many people have their own procedures for pruning that one.

Are you confused enough yet?
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Jun 6, 2015 1:52 PM CST
Name: Karen
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Garden Art Region: Minnesota Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
Doesn't take much these days, lol, but I am trying to muddle through. I think I have it.
Happiness is doing for those who cannot do for themselves.
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Jun 6, 2015 7:17 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
You can write to me anytime with any questions, Karen. Some are trickier than others. Our Niobe grows both in front of and behind a trellis that has no access to the back so I don't trim them at all. The stems in front do get pruned.
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You can see buds behind the trellis.
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Jun 6, 2015 7:48 PM CST
Name: Karen
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Garden Art Region: Minnesota Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 2
That's a really pretty color, Arlene.
Happiness is doing for those who cannot do for themselves.
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Jun 6, 2015 8:02 PM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Thanks. It's always dark red but some years it's much darker. It's always appreciated against the white trellis.
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Jun 6, 2015 9:28 PM CST
Name: Jason
Gold Bar, Washington (Zone 8b)
great color!
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Jun 7, 2015 7:24 AM CST
Name: Anna
North Texas (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Clematis I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Texas Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
Contrast is beautiful
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Jun 7, 2015 9:13 AM CST
Name: Arlene
Southold, Long Island, NY (Zone 7a)
Region: Ukraine Dahlias I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Houseplants Tomato Heads Garden Ideas: Level 1
Plant Identifier Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Thanks!
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