Aug 162009
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Clematis are beautiful flowering climbers, and can be quite easy to grow given the right conditions.

Growing Conditions

Clematis require a well drained soil with some organic matter in the soil. They tend to grow best with the roots in a shaded, cool environment and the vine exposed to the sun. Ideally, Clematis prefer a position with afternoon shade and morning sun, and protection from strong hot wind. To improve the soil before planting, mix in a generous amount of compost and manure. When you have planted your Clematis, mulch the roots with a thick layer of mulch. Even small plants in front of the Clematis will help to shade the roots.

Clematis require constantly moist soil to grow well, therefore use drippers or soaker hoses to irrigate, rather than sprinklers or hand watering. Organic fertiliser should be applied at the recommended rate through spring, summer and autumn.

Pruning and Training

For repeat flowering, large flowered hybrid Clematis, you should prune after the first flush of flowers in spring has finished. Prune back by one – third to half the growth, and remove any damaged or weak growth. For all Clematis, it is recommended to prune back to a strong set of buds at 40 – 60cm from the ground in winter (late July). Prune out any dead growth.

Your Clematis will need support to climb up. This can be trellis or wire against a wall, or you can train Clematis through taller trees and shrubs. Be careful when tying up Clematis canes because the stems are very brittle and easy to break or damage.

Clematis may be propagated or thickened up by layering. Simply lie the stems down on the soil and hold the stems down with soil or small stones, leaving the nodes uncovered.

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