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Pruning Clematis Montana

I am replacing a leaky old shed with a potting shed in the Autumn.

When we arrived at my present house 7 years ago, I disguised the old shed with two Clematis Montana and sure enough they have covered it, beautifully. 

The usual pruning time I believe is after flowering, which I don't do as the birds like to nest in the clematis during spring and summer. I usually just tidy up the end growth late in the year.

So my problem is that the stems are quite thick near the base and I want to retain the clematis and train some leaders around the sides(away from the window) and over the top of the new shed if possible.

Would this kill the plants? or should I replant with new specimens? Yes I know that clematis are not planted in the same area as before or is this untrue?

Thanks in anticipation.


  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,695

    This is what the RHS has to say on pruning established clematis in Group 1, which includes Montana.

    • Trim overlong branches and prune back dead or winter-damaged shoots to a pair of healthy buds
    • Vigorous clematis, such as C. montana, can be simply sheared over after flowering to keep them tidy
    • Old congested plants can be thinned but it is usually easier to renovate
    • To renovate, cut all stems back almost to the base, just after flowering. Apply a general fertiliser, mulch and water in dry spells. Response is generally good. Leave at least three years before pruning hard again


    You will find you don't have the flowers next year, but it may solve your problem. Montana is usually quite tough. I would have thought it would survive a prune now even though it's late. There is time for it to make some new growth by autumn. You could leave the stems you want as a framework and shorten them.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • I have a clematis I think its henry.I dont know what group it is.I have had it for years .I dont prune it because it always grew on old wood, this year it grew on the top and nothing on the bottom.Should I cut it way down and see what happens ,I dont want to kill it its so pretty.It has big white flowers and is growing on large arborvites

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,104

    When does it flower Debra?

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,695

    Clematis Henri is group 2, Light prune. You can prune it halfway after the first flowering and lightly trim back to healthy buds in the spring.  Have a look at this site.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • thanks I will do that .It blooms in the spring and it blooms again in the fall.

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