Forum home Problem solving

Pruning a Multi Blue clematis

I was wondering if anyone could tell me how to prune this clematis, a Multi Blue, to make it bushier and get more stems from the ground? It's looking very straggly at the moment. I only planted it earlier this year so would it benefit from being cut all the way down next spring or....? Any tips would be very helpful..





  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391

    Here's a good page which explains it all very well.  It even mentions Multi Blue. image


    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    Multi-blue is a group 2 for pruning which means it gets a light trim after the first flush of flowers in late spring, early summer.

    However, I think the main problem with yours is thirst and hunger.  It looks very dry and, in its first year, won't have had time to send its roots down deep looking for nutrients and moisture.   Clematis are very hungry, thirsty plants so I suggest you start by giving it  a generous drink - at least 5 litres - or diluted tomato food.  Repeat after a few days and until the autumn rains set in in September.   Then you can give it a generous mulch of well rotted garden compost or manure and leave it till spring.

    In spring, give it a generous feed of proper clematis food and cut back all stems to a healthy pair of buds.   Give it some more trellis either side of the existing panel as it will want to spread and training its stems horizontally or diagonally will encourage extra flowers.  Feed it with weekly drinks of tomato food.  When the first flush of flowers is over in June, dead head them and keep up the feeding and you should get a second flush in late summer.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Chop it back to about 4 inches now, at the same time give it some 1.1.1 food.

    You will then have a good floriferous plant next year, probably not the true Multi Blue, most plants sold with this name are sports from the real Multi Blue.

  • kasjkkasjk Posts: 137

    Thank you all for the replies, I have given it a good feed and water tonight, might take the plunge and chop it right down this weekend....! 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,646

    I wouldn't chop it right down, I would cut it half down then do as Obelixx says. I have 2 Multi Blue, they take a bit of time to get going, may not be until the second or third year before you have a bushy plant.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • Can you explain please why you would cut it half down, Busy Lizzie, what benefit would that be to the plant ?

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,364

    Now is not the time to be cutting it back, as late summer is often the time for a second flush of flowers. Follow Obelixx's instructions and prune in Spring.

    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • OK, so please show us the second flush of flowers, kasjk, when they appear, looking forward to them.

    Tomorrow I will show you a picture of some Multi Blue plants on the nursery here which were chopped back a couple of weeks ago.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,645

    Hello Richard - growing plants in a garden is not the same as growing them in a nursery to sell.

    I get all my clems from a pair of brothers who have a clematis nursery and they do just as you do, cutting back all their stock in summer, regardless of pruning group,  because it prepares the plants to have fresh, green growth for their next big selling period in autumn and means they don't have to do constant re-potting.

    For those of us growing individual plants in gardens and wanting second flushes or long flowering, the cultivation methods I use are what they advise and what I find works in a garden situation.

    Busy is also right.  Clematis can take a couple of years to get settled before they put on strong displays and they need feeding and watering well till they establish..


    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,646



    I didn't enlarge the photo so I thought it had dying blue flowers on it, but now I see they are leaves that show blue in the photo. Mine is covered with flowers in early summer, too complicated to deadhead with all the rest of the garden to deal with so sometimes I just cut off the top half and it regrows for autumn flowers. Otherwise I do as Obelixx says.

    This is mine.


    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
Sign In or Register to comment.