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Changing Clematis pruning time.

madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,422
Most people say that you prune Clematis in late Winter to Spring but for the past few years I have been cutting mine back in around Oct/Nov as they always seem to be well away with new growth by then.If I left it till the following year I would be taking off so much new growth and in some case flower buds that it wouldn't seem right!
They are all Group 1.
I know the Isle of Wight has a fairly warm winter climate but all my Clematis came through the 'Beast from the East' with no problems.
Does anyone else do this or have other plants which you prune at the 'wrong' time?
“Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings


  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 2,182
    edited January 2021
    Group 1 clematis like Monatana - Armandii - winter flowering - alpina - koreana varieties  and others are pruned ( or not pruned at all ) after they have finished flowering around may - June. They may still put on extra growth in your climate so just nip any over long shoots off again like you are doing. Along as it works for you it fine. 

    group 3 are for late winter / spring. 

    I don't particular prune anything at the wrong time but I can be impatient at time and just do something to get it over and done with.  
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 18,472
    I don't prune Group 1 clematis, unless they have got too big and untidy when I prune them after flowering.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,422
    Actually I now find mine are all Group 3 (all very confusing!).
    It says prune after flowering but mine seem to keep flowering profusely well into October!
    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,262
    I have a Group 3 very vigorous clematis 'Polish Spirit' which buds early. I pruned it down to about a foot or two a couple of weeks ago and did the same last year. Seems to like it!
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 18,472
    I cut Group 3 clematis down to 6 -12 inches in late winter. They are pretty vigorous and grow back.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,597
    @madpenguin    Group 3 clematis are usually pruned hard back in late Feb/early March depending on how severe are your winters and how early your spring but I have never enjoyed gazing at all that dead tangle of stems all winter so cut most back in November, leaving 2' or 3' of stems to protect the crown and lower shoots from heavy frosts.

    Group 2 clematis can flower on old stem made in previous years and usually just get a light prune to remove spent flowers and any wayward stems after their first flush of flowers in June.  If pruned well and fed generously they will then produce a second flush in late summer.  However, in my last garden their stems were always frozen hard in winter so I treated them as group 3s which just meant a longer but later sustained flowering period over summer.

    Group 1s flower over winter or very early in spring and on old wood so they only get pruned once flowering finishes and only to keep them to the size of their supports or to remove entire stems form the base to promote new growth which will flower lower down the following year.

    All clematis are hungry, thirsty plants and should be given a generous annual feed in spring plus occasional treats of liquid tomato food thru summer.  They will need extra water during hot, dry spells such as we had last year and the year before.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,422
    I have 'Polish Spirit' and is one that does so well in my garden.
    I cut it back in Oct/Nov and the following year I just let it clamber over up the trellis on the fence and then over surrounding shrubs etc. Bought it for £1.75 from Morrisons!

    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • I have a Madame Julia Correvon clematis which is in type 3 for pruning. Unfortunately the lowest pair of buds to which I should prune are around 4-6 ft above the ground. Should I cut at this level or just cut the stems around 1ft from the ground where there are no buds?
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,597
    It's a group 3 so pruning hard should be fine.  It will grow new stems from the base and you'll have green foliage and rich red flowers all along the stems.    I would give it a generous feed at the same time and a mulch of well-rotted compost or manure to help retain moisture thru the growing season and improve soil fertility.   

    Maybe have a go at cuttings or try layering one or two of the stems with higher buds? Read all the way down.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks, Obelixx. I'll try that but I may leave a couple of stems around 1.2m.
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