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Covering Clematis base and roots?

I have been looking into finding a space or two to locate a few Clematis within our garden this year. Knowing this, my lovely wife and girls bought me some early birthday presents prior to this awful lockdown. Extra time at home has at least given me time to catch up on a few jobs around the garden, the shed has had a new lick of paint at last and is now ready for some climbers!

X triternata Triternata Rubromarginata

Texensis Princess Kate

Maximowicziana Terniflora

"Happy Birthday"

Franziska Marie

All varieties are either group two or group three and have been buried at the required depths as instructed by the labels. It was advised to bury all of these varieties deeper than the pot level to encourage new additional shoots. Can I now cover the base of the plants, and will any new shoots manage to work their way up through this covering? I was planning to use about an inch of fine stone / gravel for this job. Is that suitable? I was planning on using it mainly as it's all I have available and nipping out to buy anything else isn't an option at the moment.

Thanks in advance for any advice.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 32,855
    Yes is the simple answer.  :)
    Add more compost or soil, water thoroughly, and then mulch with your gravel, but don't crowd it round the existing stems. 
    Water is key just now.
    Some of those look quite young plants, but hopefully they'll come away. I'd have been inclined to pot them on a bit, to let them get bigger and sturdier,  but they might be ok at this time of year when plants want to grow. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks @Fairygirl I will get them covered today. Fingers crossed they all take off! They came from Taylor's Clematis (other suppliers are available!) I have to agree that I was surprised by how small the top growth was on a couple of them but they did have a reasonable root ball. Maybe they were trimmed to transport them? 
  • lilysillylilysilly Posts: 497
    Hi @justandnobodyelse, if they've come from Taylor's they are likely garden ready size wise. I have many clematis dotted around my garden. Some are already a metre tall e.g. Princess Diana and Polish Spirit. Others are only just poking through, including Princess Kate. 
    They should look lovely later this summer. 😃

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,583
    Give them plenty of water while they're establishing and maybe a handful of slow release fertiliser around the base before you mulch with gravel.   I would also add an extra wire to halve the distance between those on your shed.  It'll make it easier to train the new stems horizontally as they grow and they'll find it easier to latch on too.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 2,825
    I use broken slabs over the top of clematis, and then mound the soil up so the slabs are partly buried.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 32,855
    Yes - if they're from Taylor's they'll be fine. It was hard to see from the photos  :)

    Why do you put slabs over the clematis @WillDB:o
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,076
    I actually lay old broken slate tiles over my Clematis to keep the roots cool and moist. What the advantage of using slate is that it it very thin and easily covered 
    I normally take the slate off before mulching with garden compost with a handful of fish blood and bone fertiliser laid over the base of the Clematis. I then place the slate pieces around and under the edge of the garden compost. I also foliar feed with Phostrogene every 2 weeks and then change that to a tomato feed in May up to flowering  

  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,886
    Understand that necessary shading for clem bases is a myth.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,583
    Shading their roots is indeed a myth.  It's not warmth that hurts them but thirst so a mulch is a good idea to retain moisture.

    However, slates and such are a haven for slugs and snails which love nothing better than fresh, juicy clematis shoots to nibble so beware!
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you all for the continued advice. I do look forward to admiring the blooms later this summer. Fingers crossed they are not eaten by slugs, battered by the elements or dug up by either the foxes, cats or squirrels! The resident squirrels are driving me mad. Plant out anything too small and fragile and it's a goner.

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