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Cut clematis comes back

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#1 Janet Macunovich

Janet Macunovich


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Posted 04 April 2012 - 03:11 PM

We've been asked about pruning Clematis many times over the past two weeks by people in audiences where we've been speaking. We've got quite a bit written about it in What's Up already, which might be boiled down to "Go ahead and cut!" but I did promise these three photos to some who heard me but who were still worried.

1) A large flowered hybrid making its comeback form a complete cut. It won't bloom for so long a time this year as when it goes un-cut. However, it will bloom wonderfully beginning a bit later than usual.
The smaller flowered later blooming species clematis, such as C. viticella, C. violacea and C. texensis can simply eb cut all the way to the ground every year.

2) This blue bush clematis (Clematis heracleifolia; I know it looks like a drunken spray of gray lines!) can be cut the the ground (right arrow - lots of new growth coming there). Alternatively, cut its existing canes to where strong new growth is coming (left arrows).

3) Here's a large flowered hybrid before cut, right after the April 1 cut, and a week later.

If anyone has any photos that illustrate how to decide which canes to cut to renew a large-flowered hybrid or a spring bloomer, or how to shorten its branches, we'd love to see them here. So many people ask and so far we haven't managed to be working on a Clematis when the light's right. When the light's wrong, it's just a mass of undecipherable shadows at the base of a clematis!

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