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Prruning / Cutting back Clematis

I've been told to clip my clematis wirh garden shears instead of cutting  it right back to  almost ground  level. Almost  like clipping the front  of a hedge.
Seems a bit  odd to me but  Im a real beginner when  it comes to gardening etc and  I'd appreciate any advice.
All ther  ''dead'' old growth from  last   year  covers about7 or 8 feet  in width and  is about 6 feet high.
My thanks  in advance  for any help you can  offer.

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Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,817
    What type of clematis is it? By that, I don't mean variety - I mean the type as in viticella, alpina etc, or what Group it belongs to  :)
    That will determine the best approach. You can certainly hack many of them back hard, but it really depends on the type as to when you'd do it, and proper pruning is always going to be better than just shearing it indiscriminately. 
    It sounds like it could be a montana or similar, but cutting it back now would mean losing the flowers. A photo would be great too, especially any pix from last year when it was flowering   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



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

  • This is the  only poor  pic  I have of it and it doesnt do the plant  justice when  it was in full bloom  later  on.
    I might add that the majority  of the flowers were the  deep purple colour as shown but as the year progressed  a lot  of much bigger  , more  ornate  , pinky flowers bloomed amoung the  others. It  looked wonderful in my  opinion.
    Hope this helps
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze Posts: 5,625
    edited February 2023
    @detainer I would cut it down to about 18 inches to a foot tall. Your hydrangas are in flower so that would indicate that it flowers in summer or more likely late summer.

    Clematis are split into 3 groups.

    1 are the early spring flowers which are pruned after flowering. Your will be either group 2 which you prune to 18 inches and group 3 which I think yours is you can go down to 12 inches. 

    Always cut to two strong buds if possible. Does C Viticella ring any bells?
    Good to keep labels for clematis for this reason, however there is always a way to resolve it.

     Retired Gardener, new build garden, clay soil, South Notts.


    The more I garden the less I know but the more pleasure I get from it. Monty Don 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,817
    I'll assume the photo is from late summer/early autumn, as there's a hydrangea in flower and berries on the cotoneaster  :)
    In which case, it's a Group 3 of some kind, albeit one of the smaller flowering ones. The photo isn't close enough to see the flower well, but if it's flowering at that time, you can just cut it back quite hard to a good pair of buds, any time from about now.
    The Group 2s flower in spring, and then often flower again later, but they can be treated as Group 3s anyway, and cut back, and will just flower later on. 

    You can then feed it, and mulch it with some compost if you have any, and it should produce lots of new growth for flowering later.  :)

    If you have a close up of the flowers, you might get an ID for it, but there are so many varieties, it's quite difficult to be accurate. You could take a look at some of the clematis suppliers too, to see if anything looks similar - Taylors, Thorncroft and Hawthornes all have plenty of info. There's a viticella called Black Prince, but yours looks a bit pale to be that   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • My sincere thanks for taking the trouble to reply.
    I'll follow your advice and cut  it back rarther than shearing  it.
    Its appreciated.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,817
    Myself and @GardenerSuze were posting at the same time, but we were saying the same things.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • @Fairygirl I thought exactly the same!
     Retired Gardener, new build garden, clay soil, South Notts.


    The more I garden the less I know but the more pleasure I get from it. Monty Don 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,817
    I'm sometimes [usually!] very slow if I'm doing a more in depth post @GardenerSuze.
    I'm very aware that what I write might seem obvious to me, but it might not be so clear to the person asking, so I often change what I've written as I go along! 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....



    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Clematis Montana after flowering and C Bill Mackenzie in early spring won't come to any harm if cut back with shearers at these times
    There are a few more that this could be applied to as well. However I would cut to a strong pair of buds. This stops the 'birds nest effect' lots of thin dead stuff at the base and a tangle of new growth that you cannot unravel at the top.
    In effect you get it to shoot and flower further down, easier to tie in and the flowers are more evenly displayed.

     
     Retired Gardener, new build garden, clay soil, South Notts.


    The more I garden the less I know but the more pleasure I get from it. Monty Don 
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