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How big pots for clematis?

wakeshinewakeshine Posts: 967

I bought a few baby clematis plants from Morissons for £1.77 (hooray for Morissons Flower Shop!). I am new to clematis and wondered how big a pot I should use for one of them (rest are going in ground next to fence). At the moment it is very tiny in a 9cm pot...Should I go much bigger? I want to put it in a terracotta pot.



  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,556

    I buy my clematis from a specialist who sells them in 9"/23cm deep pots and with about 3'/90cms of growth above.   Even so, I pot them on into bigger pots and grow them on for a season before planting them out in the borders as this gives them the chance to grow a stronger root system and thus have a better start.  I find clems take a season or 3 to get established and really start growing above ground and this system cuts that time to 2 years.

    If yours are very small they are all better off going into bigger pots now and again at the end of summer as their roots will continue to develop over winter.   Each time you pot them on, bury them an inch or two deeper in the pots as this encourages extra shoots to grow and thus more flowers later on.   

    Once they are fully established in 9"/23cm deep pots they should be big enough to bury 4" deeper in the border or in a 60cm/2' pot.   Clematis are very hungry, thirsty plants so paint the inside of your terracotta pot with PVA glue or acrylic varnish to make it less porous.   Give them plenty of slow release food every spring and never let them get thirsty and they'll repay you with glorious growth and blooms.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • wakeshinewakeshine Posts: 967

    Thanks Obelixx. I really appeciate this advice. I don't have to put it in a terracotta pot - I have some strong plastic ones actually. I can use those instead if you think it's better. I was only going to put one in a put at the front of the house. Do you think the others really won't develop a strong root system if I put those into the ground? Also, if I do decide to put them in the far away from the fence shall I put it?

    Do slugs eat baby clematis?

    Thank you in advance.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,556

    Slugs love baby clematis and the new shoots on established ones.

    Small clems will easily get lost in your borders.  Best to grow them on in pots till they're bigger and stronger but it is, of course, up to you to decide to risk them or not.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,151

    Excellent advice Obelisk!

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • wakeshinewakeshine Posts: 967

    Hmm. All the putting things in pot is tiring me out. I'm trying ti have less pots on the patio. So I thought I'd just stick them into the ground by the fence. I understand your points though. I shall have to have a think.

    I also bought a honeysuckle serotina and a jasmine officinale because they were £1.77. I've no clue where to put those. I wonder if honeysuckley becomes too heavy and presses the fence. ?

  • yarrow2yarrow2 Posts: 782

    And this is what happens when you put a baby clematis in a pot, forget about it for 6 years and then re-discover it again.  You soak it for hours and still have to fight to get it out of the pot and then you need a wheelbarrow to transport it to the other end of the garden where you have had to dig a humungous hole to accommodate it!  LOL!  What a laugh this was - and poor clematis.  

    This was end of May this year.  Pleased to say it was planted deep and now has promising looking shoots about a foot long.  So hoping it will forgive me by reaching flowering stage in the autumn!  I think I've done it again - posted something I've already posted on another thread.  I can't keep track.  I'm thinking that my re planting the entire root ball would not be what a savvy clematis grower would have done.  Perhaps I ought to have trimmed the roots back or something to make it a reasonable size to transplant.  But there you go...neglect defies logic!


    Last edited: 21 June 2016 12:20:43

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,556

    I think you've done the right thing leaving its root ball intact but then I'm an amateur grower who wants lots of show from my clems and for me that means roots to feed them.

    Do you know what it is?

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025

    Hi wakeshine - obelixx has given you excellent advice re your small clematis. They're just not mature enough to withstand life yet in an open border. At that size, they're not much more than last year's cuttings, so they won't be mature plants, giving a good display for quite a long time, hence the need to pot them on and let them mature first. If you want to avoid potting plants on, it would be better to buy a mature specimen from a nursery or GC, which you can plant out now.

    I know it's tempting to buy these inexpensive plants, but they're inexpensive for a good reason!  image

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

  • wakeshinewakeshine Posts: 967

    Wow Yarrow 2 - do you have a photo of how it is now? I did not realise they could be grown after being forgotten for so long.

    Fairygirl thanks. The problem with me is get tempted by the packaging which has these lovely photos on them, and the cheap price, and ended up with baby plants. I guess if everyone is saying I need to put into bigger pots, that's what I'll have to do :-(

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,025

    We all do it wakeshine- very few of us are immune to those tempting bargains  image

    It's worth giving them the right treatment though. In a couple of years when you have lots of lovely flowers on mature climbers, you'll be glad you did it image

    Out of interest, what varieties did you buy? Different types require different treatment with pruning etc.

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

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