How To Plant And Protect Clematis With Mulch And Pruning

Question From: A. Martin - Baldwin, New York, United States
Q: 2 of my sweet autumn clematis died! I am so surprised! I did cut them down to a few inches last fall and living in n.y. We had a terrible winter. Any input would be appreciated, thx.

A: The extended freeze took out many plants this season. If you replace them, plant the clematis so the crowns of the plants are 2 inches below the soil line. Mulching with 3 inches of organic material will keep the soil moist in summer and prevent the freeze thaw action in early winter and spring. Prune it back to 18 inches or so in late winter or early spring. Check out the new purple flowering variety 'Sweet Summer Love'. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy