Planting Clematis

The Right Place
Jackman Clematis will grow as far north as the Ohio Valley and southern Pennsylvania and along the Atlantic coast into New England (zone 5). It is hardy in areas where winter temperatures seldom dip below -10°F.

Locate clematis in full sun or partial shade. The trick is to keep the roots cool and moist while exposing the rest of the plant to the sun. Do this by adding lots of organic matter to the soil in the planting hole and by spreading a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant after it is planted.

Planting Nursery Stock
Purchase nursery stock, which is generally 1 to 2 years old. It is preferable to buy clematis in containers. If they are only available in bags, replant them in gallon containers until they get off to a good start, and then transplant them to the garden. They won't do well if they are put directly into a planting hole from a bag. Plant clematis in a fertile, well-drained neutral to alkaline soil (pH 7.0 to 7.5). If clematis are growing near concrete walls or foundations, watch that their soil doesn't become too alkaline from lime that may leach into the soil from the masonry.

Dig a hole 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep. Break up the hardened soil at the bottom, and mix a handful of a slow-acting general-purpose fertilizer in with the bottom soil. Plant deeply, setting the top of the root ball 2 inches below the soil surface. Cover it with soil and mulch. This encourages budding in the crown, so that new growth can take over if the main stem is injured. Set clematis plants about 24 inches apart, even though they are slow to fill in. Be sure to provide a support when they are planted. If they cannot climb immediately, clematis grows poorly. Their stems are brittle and are easily damaged. Be patient with these plants, as they can take up to 7 years to attain their fullest floral display.

Amendments In Planting or Transplanting
There are a number of products at the garden center that will help your newly planted or transplanted plants deal better with the stress inherent in the planting process. All healthy plants have beneficial fungi, called mycorrhizal fungi, living on their roots. You can buy these valuable additions to your plant’s ecosystem. See the file describing Using Micorrhizae When Planting.

In addition, there are a number of products such as seaweed, compost tea, and beneficial soil microbes that when added to the planting process will help your newly established plants get going faster. See the file New Technology In Plant Growth Activators

For more information see the file on Planting Shrubs. For planting tools see Hand Tools For Digging and Planting in Yardener’s Tool Shed.

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