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Clematis - to prune or not to prune?!

I planted c. lemon dream last year, and each plant has several established shoots which are about 7ft high now (which is about as high as I want them to go). They're showing green growth again now after the winter but it's all at the tips - should I prune them hard now to encourage more shoots? If I leave them it seems they'll just continue to get leggy and outgrow the space anyway.

It's group 1 and I read that they don't need pruning, but to wait till after they flower in about may if you do want to prune. But I'm wondering if I should cut them back now to encourage bushier plants, even at the expense of flowers.

As you can tell, I'm rather confused - any advice would be gratefully received!

Posts

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,011
    Lemon Dream is a group 1 for pruning which means it should only be pruned to keep it in bounds or to remove one or two stems to the base to encourage renewal.   It flowers, usually in May, on stems produced the preceding year and then maybe later in July/August. 

    If you prune it now you are likely to lose flowers for this year but I can see that you still have it tied to canes by those little green strips which will be strangling it and that most of those stems are growing vertically which is encouraging all the nutrients and energy to rush to the top and produce foliage and flowers at the tips.  I suggest you cut those little plastic ties and you try and unwind the stems - gently - and retrain them as horizontally or diagonally as you can so that the energy flow slows and more shoots form lower down on those stems.

    I would also give it a generous feed of fertiliser for clematis, roses or tomatoes as all those formulations improve flower power.  Give it a good drink too and repeat during dry spells - 15 litres poured slowly so it soaks in deep as that wall will not only provide a possible rain shadow but also soak up a lot of moisture in the ground.   Clematis are hungry, thirsty plants.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • when do I need to start feeding them? now?
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,011
    yes, every spring with the big dollop of slow release and then occasional additions of liquid tomato feed when watering between and including April and July.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • any recommendations for slow release? I'm a bit wary since sprinkling growmore around my plant last year and killing about half of them...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,011
    I haven't lived in the UK for 30 years so don't know the brands anymore.  Growmore is high in nitrogen which promotes foliage.   Anything that says clematis, roses or tomatoes will have the right balance to encourage flowers.   If it says organic, so much the better.  

    Remove any weeds from the bed then sprinkle the fertiliser on by the handful and gently fork it into the soil around the roots of the clematis.  Water it in to help some of the goodies to sink down to the roots.  Occasional feeds with liquid tomato fertiliser will be like an instant tonic.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,828
    I use Blood Fish and Bone fertiliser and manure, which are organic and slow release. They don't burn your plants or upset the soil. I think Growmore is an inorganic synthetic fertiliser, along with Phostrogen and Miracle Grow, they are stonger, work more quickly but can burn your plants and aren't good for the soil.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • thanks for the tips
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