Caring for Clematis

The care information provided in this section represents the kind of practical advice is available for all the plants in this web site if you subscribe to the monthly customized newsletter Yardener’s Advisor.

Ideally, clematis should get 1 inch of water a week from rain or from a watering system. If it has not rained during the week, check soil moisture under the mulch to see if you need to water. Use a sprinkler or soaker hose to get gradual penetration to a depth of 10 to 12 inches. During hot, dry weather, water thoroughly once a week. Make every effort to keep clematis roots cool and moist. For information on products see the file on Choosing Watering Equipment

Clematis are heavy feeders. Fertilize every month during the growing season, by sprinkling a handful of fertilizer onto the soil around the clematis about 2 or 3 inches from the stem. Do not allow the fertilizer to touch the leaves or stem. For more information see the file for Fertilizer Products

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A 2 to 4 inch layer of some organic material such as chopped leaves, shredded bark or dried grass clippings spread on the soil over clematis roots will keep them cool and moist. Leave a 2-inch un-mulched area around the stem of the clematis and spread the mulch out in a 12-inch circle. This will protect the stems from damage by mowers and control weeds also. Winter mulch, necessary in areas where there is no snow to insulate the soil, must be laid down after the ground freezes. Put 4 to 6 inches of chopped leaves, hay, straw, or the like, over the roots of the clematis, blanketing the soil up to the crowns of the plants. For more information see the file on Using Mulch

Jackman Clematis blooms on the new (current year's) wood. In the spring, cut the dormant plant back to within 1 to 3 feet of the soil surface, or to 2 or 3 buds. Do this for the first 3 years. Thin out overgrown tangles and dead wood. Be careful not to injure the live stems, which are prone to stem rot diseases. Pruning Shrubs and Choosing Pruning Tools

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