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I don't know which pruning group my clematis belongs

I've got a clematis which I have hard pruned in Feb as a group 3, but it has never done well, maybe 2 or 3 flowers. I'd wondered if it was unhappy in its spot, but now wonder if I've pruned it as the wrong group. I thought I would leave it unpruned this year and see what it did. Is this the best idea?


  • If you have a named variety you should be able to check on the RHS site to see which pruning group yours belongs to :)
  • berardeberarde Posts: 104
    Ah thanks, but I don't know the variety, but I suspect the hard pruning is wrong for their group. So i thought perhaps to give no pruning and see what happens. I suppose if I get plenty of flowers it is group 1 or 2 , not 3
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,881
    edited December 2019
    Can you describe the flowers you got last time?  That may be enough to allow us to identify the group or at least eliminate one of them for you.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 26,167
    As a basic rule of thumb, as you don't know which variety it is , I'd suggest you have a look at it closely to see if there's any signs of buds . This would tell you if it's a montana, or macropetala or one of the other early flowering varieties. You could easily leave it another month to be sure there are no buds.

    You don't say how old the plant is, but if it's a fairly young plant, I'd cut it back to about 1m which is unlikely to do any harm at all. 

    I've not seen @Richard Hodson for a while, but he's the man in the know re clematis.
  • berardeberarde Posts: 104
    I've had them both a long time, one has a dark blue star shape (4 petalled I think) and the other I suspect is blue light. The third produces pink and white flowers: I prune it hard and pinch out tips but it doesn't bush out and produces a number of flowers but only at the top about 6 feet tall

    Thankls for great replies
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,881
    edited December 2019
    How large are each of the flowers you describe?  Are they all quite large (ie over 5cm diameter) and star-shaped or are any of them bell-shaped?  Did any of them flower in late winter?
    From what you say so far, they are sounding like group 2 or possibly 1 if roughly bell-shaped.  Light-blue bell-shaped ones are likely alpinas (group 1) for example.  The pink and white one is probably a group 2 like Dr Ruppel so the early large flowers are produced by wood which grew last year.  I prune those in feb and starting from each tip, follow back to a pair of healthy buds, pruning just above them.  I cut them back to a lower pair of buds if I want them to bush-out or they are growing out of bounds but at the expense of some flowers.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 16,764
    An easy rule, if it flowers before June, don’t prune, if it flowers after June, cut right down in February, the first one, just tidy up a bit after flowering. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • berardeberarde Posts: 104
    I think Bob has had a hit! as I've checked on Dr Ruppel and it certainly looks like mine. Thanks everyone for their help.
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