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What to do with this Clematis

Hi all

I hope you're all well and enjoying the lovely weather.

I'd like to ask further questions about my Clematis.  Further in that I was posting about Clem last year.

Here's the link below

The photos below show what Clem looks like this year.  I've followed the advice and didn't prune and there is evidence of little bulbs however I'm wondering should there be more looks very straggly and woody and thinking should I have taken some of the deadwood off as there appears to be dead wood at the end of the tendrils.  If so would it be ok if I prune it off now or does anyone have any advice it would be appreciated.

My dad planted it for me three years ago and he sadly passed away two weeks ago 😥😥 and I'd really like to honour him by making this Clematis blooming special.

Thanks so much.




  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,860
    The flowers tend to come earlier than foliage, so don't worry about that. 
    I'd put some strong horizontal wires or a substantial trellis and untangle it and spread the stems out nearer the bottom of the fence to give better cover.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009
    Those "bulbs" are flower buds so the non-pruning has done the trick.  I would suggest you give it a drink of liquid tomato feed now and once week till flowering finishes.  Tomato feed will encourage flowers.

    Agree with @Hostafan1 about training it on horizontal wires.  You can by vine eyes (screw fixings with a loop at the end) thru which you pass the galvanised wires.  Attach at each end with a tensioner to keep them taught.  Place them at 30cm intervals up the fence.

    Untangle the stems carefully once flowering finishes (so you don't lose any) and train them along the wires as horizontally or diagonally as you can so the plant is encouraged to form new leaves, stems and flowers low down and not just at the top.   Once flowering finishes you can safely trim back any stems that exceed the space you have.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • @Hostafan1

    Thanks for your quick replies, as it happens I already have tension wires so will get onto fixing them to fence.

    I don't actually have tomato feed so would potash be okay for encouraging flowers?


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009
    Potash will help but a plant food high in phosphorus would be better.

    The 3 basic fertiliser components are NPK and are listed on each fertiliser you buy in the shops.  

    N =  nitrogen and is important for leaf production and growth. 
    Phosphorus (P) focuses energy on strong root development and flowers, fruits and seeds, while also helping plants use other nutrients efficiently. A shortage of phosphorus leaves roots weak and flowers and fruit lacking
    Potassium (K) aka potash enhances overall growth. It helps regulate root and top growth and keeps plants healthy and balanced. This affects all aspects of plant well-being, from cold and drought tolerance to disease and pest resistance.

    If Potassium is all you have it's better than nothing but do get some tomato feed as soon as you can.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,864
    The fertiliser sold for roses  and flowering shrubs would do the same job if that's easier to find. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Hi everyone

    I have followed your advice and I'm afraid, compared to last year my Clematis is still very woody, see pix.  All the wee buds and leaves have dried up and I have given it a good watering, I'm starting to think that I should have trimmed the top of it somewhat as the woodiness is top heavy.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.  

  • RaboonRaboon Posts: 15
    edited July 2021
    As mentioned, get the clematis a proper support.

    Clematis have the equivalent of little fingers, tendrils, that help it grip against thin supports.
    Your fence is the equivalent of a human trying to scale a concrete wall. There's nothing to grip.

    The clematis is doing its best by leaning against the wall and wrapping around itself where it can to climb, then as it reaches the top of the wall, there's no more support so it flops.

    1. Install a trellis , as mentioned before. One as wide as you want the clematis to grow, the little one there at the moment isn't doing anything useful.
    2. Find stems that you can run along the base of the support. The clematis wants to climb upwards. You need to hoik it sideways, against its best intentions, to cover your fence horizontally before letting it climb upwards to get coverage.
    3. Prune back the stems that you can't spread across the base of the trellis to a couple of feet above ground. They'll  re-shoot and you can train those.

    Definitely clear anything around the base and water it generously.

    Also, I'd advise against wire tensioners unless that fence is really sturdy. Those wires need to be tensioned well to hold weight without sagging, which will yank against the boards. Couple that with the weight of the clematis over time... you'll likely end up with a few boards and a clematis on the ground.
    That said, wire can be much more discrete than a trellis, so if you do chose to proceed, install plenty of vine eyes along each run. Perhaps one every 4 posts or so, meaning lots of fence boards are taking the weight, of the clematis at least. The two end boards will be feeling the tension of the wire regardless.
  • @Raboon thanks so much for your advice.  I must admit further to earlier advice I was holding off on attaching supports until I saw signs of life but hey hoh will follow your suggestion , will try anything.

    Thanks again
  • FireFire Posts: 18,963
    edited July 2021
    I agree about clearing around the base. Add a good, deep mulch and water weekly deeply through the summer. I'm sorry that your new green growth has died off. Trellising would be best.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,811
    Is there any new life down at the bottom?
    It would probably be worth cutting it back anyway, and watering well, mulching with some decent compost. That will also make it easier to retrain new stems if they come away. 
    I can't see how it's planted, but it looks very tight against the fence too. That will always be drier, which won't have helped it's health. They need good drainage, but unless they're watered well until established, the roots can't get right down properly. That enables them to get moisture from deeper in the soil, and withstand longer drier spells. Lack of water, or light watering, early on means any roots that are then near the surface are vulnerable, and the plant can't support top growth.  
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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