Forum home Problem solving

HELP! Out of control clematis


I am very new to this and have moved into a house with my first ever garden! We have a beautiful pink clematis growing up the side of our house but unfortunately it has been left to get out of control and the root is like a tree trunk (see pictures) I love the idea of having a clematis climbing up the side of the house but I think it is far too wild and hard to manage at the moment. We are considering chopping back to near the root and starting again, does anyone know if it is likely to re shoot from the stump? Bear in mind the stump is very thick about 5-6inch diameter!! Thanks in advance, Beth 




  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,439

    Looks like one of the montanas. Cut it hard back now, down to about a metre, I'd say.  It will make new growth over the summer and reward you with flowers next spring.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    Cut it back as described above then leave it to wilt before you try to pull it down.  It will be easier to handle.   To help it get over the shock, give it a liquid feed of tomato food to encourage new stems to grow and, when you've pulled it all down, give it another liquid feed, remove the grass and any other weeds at the base and pile on some good quality potting compost around the base.   

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,121

    Like Chloe Kraven , not particularly keen on any Clematis ; can be attractive flowers , but my , what ugly plants .

  • Papi JoPapi Jo Posts: 3,994

    I'd advise destroying it completely and replacing with a more reasonable climber; another type of clematis---not a wisteria (another monster)!

    Last edited: 21 June 2017 22:24:33

    You are invited to a virtual visit of my garden (in English or in French).
  • PosyPosy Posts: 3,601

    I love them! The Montanas are great for covering unattractive structures, give a wonderful show of flowers in Spring and provide cover for small birds. They are easy and reliable, too.

  • Sounds like a Clematis Montana from the pics & description. Did yours have 4 petals in a cross-shape?

    If so, Montanas are incredibly vigoruous and can be cut down significantly but it's a risky maneouver (from personal experience) to over-step the boundaries and risk killing such a magnificent specimen by pruning too low at this tiime of year.

    As a particularly vigorous group 1 Clematis, they can (in theory) be pruned almost to the ground but it may be too late as flowering probably ended a good few weeks ago. Best done immediately after flowering has finished.

    I'd recommend cutting it down the height of the gutter on the outbuilding as it will still have foliage and the ability to use the sun's energy to generate new leaves and flower buds this year with less chance of it being stressed out too long.

  • Thank you for all of the advice. Yes I believe it is a Montana, it did have 4 petals and yes Dave Hedgehog it did lose its flowers around a month ago and since then has gotten even more wildly out of control!

    I appreciate what some of you are saying about the look of the 'twiggy bulk', when we moved in around winter time I assumed it was dead due to all of the wood, but it did look beautiful in spring.

  • Dilly3Dilly3 Posts: 91

    Lookout for nesting birds, they won't be happy if you cut it down now. 

  • LynLyn Posts: 22,865

    It could have the second crop of nesting birds, I'd wait a bit and have the whole lot out, it's very ugly close to the house. 

    I have one that just there for the sole purpose of covering a fence to hide a shed, it was out control and I cut it right down to six inches, its nice now as the green has grown out from the trunk, thus hiding it a bit, not sure it will do that if you only cut it to a metre 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,601

    You ned to cut back straight after flowering, I have one someon mentioning no names cut it back aa a different time, we had no flowers the following year, but if that doesnt bother you, go for it, I tidy ours up from time to time, and sock horror, yes I have bought another one, we had a tree die for no reason I can see, in the middle of a densly planted bed, Hubby said should he try and remove it, dig it up, I think a lot of plants nearly will be ruined, so have left it be,hang hangins baskets on the branches, have tried a couple of other climbers up the tree, as for the ugly, I think the Honeysuckle and clematis do look ugly around the base, so I under plant to cover the woody stems.

Sign In or Register to comment.