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Group 3 Clematis

DedekindDedekind Posts: 171
Hello

I recently planted a Polish Spirit clematis which seems to be Group 3, meaning it should be cut back quite hard in late winter. 

This season it is just starting to cover a fence panel, it is still growing good and will probably cover some more but its still quite bare and it's almost midsummer. If I cut back next winter, will next year growth be more vigorous and cover more? I am not sure I chose the right plant as I was looking for climbers to have some privacy, especially in spring and summer. 

Posts

  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,057
    I too have planted Polish Spirit to hide next door's ugly shed.  So will be interested to see what answers you get!
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,337
    Each year the roots and root crown will increase in size, producing more new shoots from low down and below ground than the year before.  If you layer some of the stems after you cut them back, those will often also root, effectively giving you more identical plants in the same area.  My mature one easily covers two 8ft wide x 10ft high trellis panels by July and is cut back to around 2ft in late winter.  There are more vigorous group 3s, but Polish Spirit is very floriferous and a genuine 'good doer', so I'd give it more time.
    Lots of food and water are essential - mine gets well-rotted manure every year.
    I discovered that if you leave some stems, those produce early, slightly larger flowers (ie it can be grown as a group 2, in a similar but reverse way that many group 2s can be grown as groups 3s), but I wouldn't recommend doing that with a young plant as your aim now is to promote more and more new shoots from the base each spring and that is achieved by hard pruning in late winter.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,145
    Exactly as @BobTheGardener says. Clematis take several years to reach maturity. A young plant will only cover a small percentage of it's full capability. Cutting back correctly encourages more shoots/stems from below ground on a Group 3, and the plant eventually becomes substantial. Some are simply more generous than others too. 
    If you buy plants from supermarkets or similar, they're often just the previous year's cuttings/slips, as opposed to buying from a recognised supplier, whose plants will be at least a couple of years old, so those usually need growing on for another year until they're mature enough to plant out. it benefits the plant to do that.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DedekindDedekind Posts: 171
    Thanks! I guess I will need to combine it with something else to provide privacy on spring then. 
  • FlyDragonFlyDragon Greater ManchesterPosts: 834
    I have group 3 clematis growing up through and in front of variegated ivy, its only the second year but going ok so far.  The bright flowers brighten up the ivy in the summer but it still looks ok all through winter too. 
  • DedekindDedekind Posts: 171
    FlyDragon said:
    I have group 3 clematis growing up through and in front of variegated ivy, its only the second year but going ok so far.  The bright flowers brighten up the ivy in the summer but it still looks ok all through winter too. 
    I'd love that combination actually. But I am always afraid of planting ivy on a fence 
  • FlyDragonFlyDragon Greater ManchesterPosts: 834
    Dedekind said:
    FlyDragon said:
    I have group 3 clematis growing up through and in front of variegated ivy, its only the second year but going ok so far.  The bright flowers brighten up the ivy in the summer but it still looks ok all through winter too. 
    I'd love that combination actually. But I am always afraid of planting ivy on a fence 
    Lots do, I have it on a trellis, could you put some trellis in front of the fence for peace of mind?
  • DedekindDedekind Posts: 171
    FlyDragon said:
    Dedekind said:
    FlyDragon said:
    I have group 3 clematis growing up through and in front of variegated ivy, its only the second year but going ok so far.  The bright flowers brighten up the ivy in the summer but it still looks ok all through winter too. 
    I'd love that combination actually. But I am always afraid of planting ivy on a fence 
    Lots do, I have it on a trellis, could you put some trellis in front of the fence for peace of mind?
    Well actually the fence is half solid and half trellis on top
  • gondorgondor Posts: 135
    edited June 2021
    I agree with other posters about the plants needing to get established for a few years before they'll give you the coverage you need.
    If you're looking for privacy, a group 1 clematis would have been better as these don't require cutting back. They are mostly deciduous but the stalks/stems provide some kind of privacy in winter. Your other option is some kind of evergreen climber like honeysuckle. There are also a few evergreen clems but they have smaller flowers and not the big showy ones like 'Polish Spirit'.
  • DedekindDedekind Posts: 171
    gondor said:
    I agree with other posters about the plants needing to get established for a few years before they'll give you the coverage you need.
    If you're looking for privacy, a group 1 clematis would have been better as these don't require cutting back. They are mostly deciduous but the stalks/stems provide some kind of privacy in winter. Your other option is some kind of evergreen climber like honeysuckle. There are also a few evergreen clems but they have smaller flowers and not the big showy ones like 'Polish Spirit'.
    Thanks! I do have an alpina nearby, a montana at the very end of the garden and a couple of honeysuckles but just on that spot I needed something to cover it and didn't really think it through. 
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