Clematis - 3 types and 3 pruning guidelines

Regular pruning is much better than letting plants grow and grow without shaping. But, I've never pruned our 3 clematis vines. It's a little confusing since you are supposed to know what you have in order to prune at the correct time to make the plant healthier and bloom more.

Did you know that the color we enjoy is not clematis's flowers? Their flowers have no petals. The color is sepals and stamens. The pretty fluffy plumes that show up after flowers fade is the stamens expanding and curling.

In "Armitage's Vines and Climbers" Allan Armitage confesses that his favorite Clematis varieties are the Clematis texensis, Texas clematis, because they are not rampant growers, are idiot proof,  slow growing, take full sun and have little trouble with our humidity.

Scarlet Leatherflower is another name for the Texas native Clematis.

Our 3 vines came from assorted plant sales so their lineage is questionable. They bloomed less this year than ever before so one can assume it is time to prune.

The first step is fairly easy - Does your vine bloom in the spring or summer? Or, is it a newer variety that is a repeat blooming type?

Prune after bloom since they set bloom next year on this year's woody growth. Don't just cut old wood because it's there. Just prune to shape.

The flowers bloom on current season growth so prune before the plant breaks dormancy or when it first begins to grow in late winter/early spring.  Sweet Autumn clematis (C. terniflora) can be cut to one-foot tall.

Always look for and prune to a healthy leaf bud. 

If your Clematis blooms both spring and fall, basically just deadhead it, removing the spent flowers. If you want to prune and shape it, just do it regularly to preserve flowering.
The California based Clematis Society is disbanding as of December, 2011.

Their clematis tips link reminds us to fertilize which I really need to make a note of on a calendar to remind me in the spring.

"Clematis are heavy feeders. In spring, once the clematis buds are about 2 inches long, start feeding them with Gro-Power Flower 'n' Bloom. Alternate feedings every 4 to 6 weeks with Gro-Power All Purpose Plus. Use approximately 2 tablespoons per plant. Continue this alternate feeding until the end of September."

Oh, and the answer to what you really want to know? "The correct pronunciation is CLEM-uh-tis."
The international society is going strong at
Here's the link to their pruning guidelines.

If you know my/our Clematis varieties just by looking at the photos, please let us know!


Anonymous said…
Really good info in the clematis post and the dry shade post. A few things I did not know too, glad I stopped by.
Molly said…
Thanks for stopping by.
Your Texture and Pattern blog post was terrific.

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