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winter or spring

Percy-GrowerPercy-Grower Posts: 253

Hi guys,

Whilst reading up on clematis i noticed the experts advice is to prune in winter or spring (feb/march) for group 3's Was just wondering what are the pro's n cons if any, if i prune them down in winter, we have frosts here up untill late may early june...




  • AllymcAllymc Posts: 23

    You prune the group 3 clematis in late winter ( mid feb with me ) as if you dont you end up with all that growth growing away from where it got to last year, and for group 3s that can be high up on a fence or through a tree. You will then be left looking at its bare legs while it flowers away above you head.

    That would be the con , a pro might be not to prune it as much say if it was growing up a tall tree and you want the flowers up high.

    I suppose pruning in winter winter , say December or January wont make a huge difference i guess as the plant will be dormant , i like the fluffy seedheads so i leave it until Feb.


  • Percy-GrowerPercy-Grower Posts: 253

    Cheers for that Ally..

    I was thinking of pruning as early as possible, as this would make it easier to fleece the less hardy plants i have growing in and around my clematis, as some of them are in large wooden planters and this will be there first winter. And i don't know if the roots will be protected enough through the wooden planter..

    Thanks again


  • LovetogardenLovetogarden Posts: 756

    Hi Percy-Grower.


    I always prune mine the last two weeks in February, if at all possible, then give them a feed of sulphate of potash. I find that this works for me.

    All my clematis are in the ground so I give them a mulch in the autumn and if you plant them deep, as you should all clematis, they should come through a hard winter. I understand that you have yours in large planters, so you could wrapped them in good thick layer of bubble wrap around the planter to give them some protection.


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    I think the reason late winter/early spring is recommended is because this is when they start showing signs of life and so enable you to identify which buds you should cut back to.

    With Group 3, cut them back to the lowest pair of growing buds (or to the ground if no buds below about a foot) if you want them to produce flowers as low as possible - most Group 3 types will easily climb to 5 to 10 feet before the flowers appear.  I try to train the new shoots into horizontal growth to keep flowers at eye level or below.  Be careful if you do that as the new stems snap off at a leaf joint very, very easily!

    With Group 2, you can see which stems are alive in late winter/early spring and so cut out any dead sections, starting from the top and working back.  I always remove a few of the older live stems too (picking those which have long bare sections) and cut those right back to ground level each year to encourage new shoots from below the soil (ie from the "root crown", which will be larger the deeper you originally planted them.)  Occasionally I cut an entire plant down to below soil level if it has become too leggy.  Last time I did that to one of my "The President" varieties, which had 3 main stems, I was rewarded with 11 new stems!  Being a Group 2 meant that it was late flowering that year and only produced the one set of flowers, but the next year it was spectacular, with over a hundred blooms over a 6x6ft area! 

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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