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Are you putting off Pruning Clematis? then read on............

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clematis montana elizabeth Clematis alpina  and ilex

Group 1 Clematis montana  

Do not prune

Group 1 Clematis alpina  

Do not prune

Are you putting off pruning Clematis ? then read on........

Late February and March is the right time to prune Clematis, except for any early flowering Clematis. The rule is if it flowers before June, don't prune. The first images are of Clematis montana and C. alpina which are the early flowering type of Clematis (called Group 1) and it is most important not to prune these. If you think about it, if a plant is to produce flowers in April and May cutting it back in March is going to remove all the buds.

The Clematis which are pruned now are those which flower later so they have time to put on growth and make buds.

This is the time to prune Clematis in Groups 2 & 3. The next two images are of Clematis Crystal fountain Group 2 and Clematis tangutica 'Bill MacKenzie' Group 3. These are Clematis which flower from midsummer onwards, group 2 in June onwards, Group 3 late summer around Late August and September.

There is help on the website about how to prune Clematis and how to work out which type of Clematis you have and videos at The SundayGardener YouTube where there is a Clematis playlist…

It can be disconcerting when pruning Clematis to see the new shoots, and then cut them off in the spring prune.
The last image shows a Clematis with many shoots, and those above the pruning line will be sacrificed. Not to worry as this is normal when pruning Groups 2 & 3 Clematis.

How many are removed depends on whether the Clematis is a Group 3 (hard prune,) or Group 2 (lighter prune).

Pruning shoots from Clematis

How many are removed depends on whether the Clematis is a Group 3 (hard prune,) or Group 2 (lighter prune).

If you don't know what type of Clematis you have, check out Clematis pruning Groups 1,2 and 3 explained both on the website and video so that you can prune successfully and be rewarded with even more flowers in the summer.

If you cannot remember when it flowered, unless you are confident it was after June, leave it alone. If it flowered "sometime in the summer" treat it as group 2. For next year take a photo of the Clematis in flower and note the month, this should enable you to identify it. If you get stuck drop the Sunday Gardener an email with the photo.


Group 2  Clematis Cystal Fountain

Lighter Prune

Group 3 Clematis tangutica 'Bill MacKenzie'

Hard Prune

Clematis-Crystal-Fountain Clematis Tangutica Bill Mackenzie 2





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  1. Janet Gormley

    Please can you advise me when to prune Montana clematis which is in flower now xx yes, prune it straight after it has finished flowering. There maybe some disruption to the flowering cycle depending on how hard you prune it but if you do it as soon as it has finished disruption should be minimal.

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  2. Christine Magee

    Hi I need help please I?ve got a Montana clematis it?s been in for about 5yrs & been growing lovely over my pagoda but this year it looks dead I know they die off in the winter but I haven?t even got a green shoot?Would be so grateful for some advise? Many thanks Hi Christine, as you k ow your clematis Montana should be in bud/leaf/ flower now depending on your growing conditions. If it’s none of these that’s not good. To check if it’s a.I’ve you can scrape back the bark on a stem; if it’s green underneath it’s alive as there is moisture in the stems, if it’s brown it dead. To make certain you can also try snapping off a branch. If it snaps it’s dead if it bends it’s alive. If all else fails take a look at the roots. If they are healthy looking and fleshy it’s alive, shriveled and it’s not good. If you conclude there are signs of life it’s a question of wait and see. Some gardening things cannot be easily explained. I had a mature wisteria which had flowered reliably for more than a decade and the. One year nothing. No leaves, no flowers. I consulted with RHS who suggested sudden death caused by graft fault. I waited and waited. It flowered 6 weeks later, a poor showing and next year was back to normal- no idea why. Good luck

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