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Overgrown Montana Clematis

Don't think this 'beast' has been pruned for about 6-8 years. It's climbing an 8ft wall & was originally on horizontal wire supports. The width from the wall is about 2-3ft & without its leaves looks a mess. Buds appearing. Base of trunk about 5-6inches thick.

Any ideas about how I should tackle it? I'm prepared to cut the whole thing back & completly expose the wall. Would it re-shoot?



  • higgy50higgy50 Posts: 184

    I'm no expert on pruning but from experience they can be pruned back pretty hard. I only know this as we had one that was really old (probably older and bigger than yours) but had to get access to repair some broken fence panels. The only way to repair them was to hack the Montana and a Honeysuckle right back really hard.

    Within 2 years it looked like this...

    (the fence panels are behind it and it's spread up over a small tree!!)...


    Someone who knows about pruning will tell you more but this is my experience of it if it helps?




  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,198

    higgy's right Chris. You can hack them back as much as you want. You'll sacrifice flowers for a year but it won't harm the plant. You can then trim it after flowering - every year if you like -  to keep it where you want it. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • bigolobbigolob Posts: 127

    Wait until the Montana has flowered - too good to miss this year, then as soon as flowering has finished cut it all back to 18 inches. It will produce new shoots through the spring and summer and flower again next Spring as usual. Montana is, as you have found, is a very vigorous but beautiful plant.

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,256

    I have one in my garden. Actually, it's my next door neighbours but it grows over my garage as you can see below. I prune it back by about 1-2ft after it has flowered late spring. It grows back through the summer and flowers profusely again the following spring. Sadly for my neighbour, tney don't get any flowers on their side of my garage, which obviously means that it's my pruning that makes the flowers. 

    Basically, however far you cut it back, thats where the flowers will appear the following year, so chop away. You can see my neighbours house on the left which is where it is planted, but it flowers on my side of the garage....


  • Thank you higgy50, Fairygirl, bigolob & LeadFarmer for taking the trouble to reply.

    Your collective advice on dealing with 'the beast' is much appreciated. I'll try & remember to re-post once I've pruned it.

    Haven't used this site for a while & had forgotten how helpful & knowledgable the 'Gardeners World Family' could be. Thanks again folks.

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,300

    What lovely pictures - reminded me just how gorgeous montanas can look.  I have a couple which were only planted last year, so hoping for a few blooms this spring, and a mass in future years image

  • LeadFarmerLeadFarmer Posts: 1,256

    Just come across another photo of my clematis, you can see how its growing nicely along the boundary between me and my neighbour. I don't prune it much in this area as I'm happy for it to keep growing along the boundary (click photo to make bigger)...



  • lisa69lisa69 Posts: 119

    I bought a Montana last year to cover the side of an ugly concrete, pebble dash garage we have at the bottom of our garden.  After reading this and seeing these pictures I hope mine grows as impressive as these, they are beautiful. image

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,198

    Lovely pix as always LF. I'm very fond of the Montanas too - I had one beside the back door in a previous garden which I trained in one direction  along a boundary fence, and the other direction over the door to meet a Rouge Cardinal on the other side. When the Montana finished , the RC was flowering. They're very versatile, and romp away so well once they establish.  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,300

    Room for one on your new fence Fairy??

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