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Clematis newbie question

BosunBosun Posts: 12

Hello all. I recently bought a house which has a trellis running all around the front door (see pic). I want to grow a climber, something with colourful flowers, that will cover the whole trellis. It's all concrete so it needs to be able to grow in a pot, and something that will tolerate shade (the house is NW facing).



I narrowed it down to clematis "Ville de Lyon", which grows to about 3m. It's a group 3, but apparently group 3 clematis need to be hard pruned every year down to about 30cm from the ground. My question is this: if pruned down to 30cm, will it grow 3m every year, ie will it grow from 30cm to 3m each year? If so, this seems kind of amazing. Also, if this is the case, then I guess it will need training to the trellis every year as well?

Alternatively, if I want to grow a clematis around the front door trellis, would I be better off getting a group 2 clematis? (Or a different type of climber altogether?!)

Any help would be greatly appreciated as I am completely new to this (first time garden owner!).



  • Hi Bosun, have a look on this site, I think its brill!  Taylors Clematis.

    sorry I dont know how to give you their link.

    This site should cover whatever you are looking for.

    I have just settled for an evergreen group one ( no pruning, just control it and tidy off any wayward growth, mine is armanii apple blossom, (SCENTED) which can grow to 4/5 metres, which will be good for me, but I don't think this clematis is suitable for container growth.

    anyway have a look at the site, I would be tempted to go for an evergreen and if poss a group one, just need to keep on top of the tying in eh!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,552

    Group 3 clematis do indeed put on all their growth in one season and are best cut back in early spring and then given a generous feed.  However, their dead growth can look really tatty once all the foliage dies back in autumn so, for a front door, it may be best to cut it back in autumn.

    Group 2 clematis get pruned later in spring to remove any dead stems back to a pair of healthy buds.   They also need a good feed.  Once their first flush of flowers is over in late spring, early summer, they can be pruned to keep them in bounds and to remove some of the dead heads before they go to seed.   This will encourage a second flush of flowers later in summer.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,139

    What about growing an alpina up one side - early flowering, smallish elegant flowers, doesn't need pruning but can be cut back when needed to confine to the space available - possibly an alpina Columbine - flowers March to May then attractive seedheads afterwards.  

    Then grow another type the other side - perhaps a Beauty of Worcester , which will have double flowers during May and June, and single ones later in September.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,552

    Whichever you decide on, you need to give them decent sized pots as clematis need a good deep root run and plenty of food.  There are special clematis fetilisers that will keep them healthy but you have to take care of all their watering and makes sure the pots don't freeze solid in winter.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BosunBosun Posts: 12

    Thanks for the replies!

    You've given me plenty to think about- I hadn't considered getting an evergreen, or growing 2 different varieties. Both really good suggestions - thanks.

    So, just to clarify, group 3's do indeed go from 30cm to 3m in one growing season?

  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    Bosun,  this is a gr. 3 Clematis in my garden, photo taken a couple of years ago, and as you can see it grows to more than 3m in a season.  It was cut down to about 18 inches above ground in February... it stretches along the fence on the left into a corner then around the trellis on the right...

    is there any way you could dig out a planting hole in the ground? even a single paving slab?  they are so much better in ground than in pots, however large... in the longer term...



  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ...I should add, that's an established plant, you wouldn't get all that growth for the first year or two...

  • dannyboy10dannyboy10 Posts: 127

    looking at the size of your trellis I would buy two one for each side of the house but get the ones what only grow 2 metres high that way it will cover both sides of the trellis and not cover the full front of your house as some clematis will.This way a large pot either side of the trellis will do as long as you feed it.

    best to get a evergreen and a group 1.

  • BosunBosun Posts: 12

    Thanks for the replies!

    So, the best for year-round coverage of the trellis is a group 1 evergreen. Am I right in thinking that the only pruning required is to keep it from getting too big? Also, if very minimal pruning is needed, does it still produce its flowers all over the plant, or just at the top?

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,552

    You need to read this - 

    and this -

    There are other evergreen clematis but I think they may be too vigorous for the small space you have to offer them as many get to 5 to 7 metres.

    Check out this variety and ask teh supllier how hardy it is before buying -

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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