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Top heavy clematis


As a very novice gardner, I need lots of help 

Moved into a house in October last year with an established garden. I have a stage 2 clematis with beautiful large lilac flowers. It has flowered fantastically this year from May onwards. Problem is it I very top heavy with lots of new growth hanging down. I've read that I de-head the flowers when over & can prune at the end of June but unsure how far I can prune the heavy new growth. 

Just the start of many questions I need answering but I feel the most important as yet.

Thanks in advance

Last edited: 07 June 2017 21:39:58


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,611

    It sounds like a group 2 which means a light pruning and a good feed of slow release clematis, rose or tomato after the first flush of flowers in May/June to promote a second flush later in summer.

    I suggest you remove all the flower heads so it doesn't waste energy on the seeds and then take half of the stems back to just above the lowest 2 pairs of leaves.   Leave the cut stems to wilt a week or so.  It will make them easier to pull out from their base without damaging the remaining stems.   Given a good feed and watreing during dry spells it should grow new stems which will flower lower down.

    If that all sounds too complicated, dead head and feed anyway and then, next spring, cut it down to the lowest pair of buds on each stem and feed generously.  It will grow a complete new set of stems you can train across the supports and then keep in bounds by training as it grows and gives you new flowering stems.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • linzi64uklinzi64uk Posts: 85

    Thank you Obelixx.

    Since we have had these horrible high winds, I think a lot of the flowers have damage with the wind, do I take these off now or leave them a little longer. I think I will do the second suggestion & just dead head until spring. It looks quite an established plant but is now just one tangled mess. There a lot of what looks like dead wood at the very bottom so do I take it back to good buds just above this. I am a very novice gardner, having only had pot plants in the past. I will attempt to get a picture on here and if it's okay pics of a few other plants that I can't find a name for.

    Thanks for the advice

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,611

    If the flowers are looking ragged and windswept I'd remove them now and feed it.   As it is so tangled you may be best waiting till next spring to give it a good haircut.   You can then remove all the severed growth immediately, feed it again and then train in the new stems it produces to keep it in control.   It will flower later but will still give a good show.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • linzi64uklinzi64uk Posts: 85


    Why the picture has come side on I don't know but you can see the over hang of new growth????? I believe if good old google is correct it is a group 2 and I think it is a firefox.  Attempting to up load another pic of a lovely yellow flower which I cannot seem to find a name..didn't load this time, can we only have one pic per post??

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,611

    That looks fairly typical of a group 2 to me but, as I said, you can encourage fresh stems and flowers lower down by judicious pruning, feeding and subsequent training.

    I don't know of a Firefox clem.  There is a Fireworks but that has a mauve bar on lilac tepals - 

    Photos taken as portrait format often load sideways and photos over a certain size don't load at all.  Several can be put on one post.  Try re-sizing your other image and posting it on a separate thread to get an ID.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,349

    In addition to Obelixx's sound advice - I think you need a bit of extra support for your clem. Is it just growing up the drainpipe?  If you can train it horizontally rather than just letting it grow vertically, that will help when it puts on new growth and outgrows it's surroundings. You can do that at a later stage when you've pruned etc, so don't worry about that too much just now.

    It can be a bit tricky if they've been allowed to grow in one direction only for too long, but it can be salvaged with a bit of care   image

    I'd just remove anything that looks a bit ragged and done. It's what sometimes happens with inclement weather unfortunately. Mine are always well fastened in as we can get rough weather at any time of year here  image

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

  • linzi64uklinzi64uk Posts: 85

    Thank you Obelixx & Fairygirl

    It has got some trellis behind it but I think I may need to extend this. Obviously in October there was very little growth and I only guessed that it could be a clematis. My other idea is to put an arch there so can hopefully train the clem to go over the arch & not up to the roof top haha. You will see in the picture I have posted that the horizontal growth is all new growth, hence my cry for help on here.

    Who ever started the garden new more about gardening than I do as (I'm certainly not complaining) new buds/plants are appearing constantly. I have had some colour in the garden since february, As stated before I have only really had pot plants so all a new experience for me, The ground looked solid but was reluctant to start digging it over until I knew what/ or if there was something growing........... and Booom!!! three beds full of flowers & shrubs. 

    I believe there was an elderly lady in the house before us who was ill for some time so am assuming the garden was left to fend for itself for a while.

    I'm loving this forum already, just hope you won't all get fed up of me as I have lots to ask and plants that need a name.

    Thanks again image

    Last edited: 08 June 2017 19:26:59

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,349

    An arch would probably be a good idea, but you might need another clematis to grow up from the other side. They're very addictive   image

    Don't be frightened to keep asking questions. It can be difficult to deal with all the emerging plants when you inherit a space, but it's also exciting. You've done the right thing in waiting to see what's growing, but sometimes everything bursts into growth and it's hard to keep up!

    There's plenty of people here with all kinds of knowledge based on personal experience, and they'll help with all sorts of problems. Enjoy all the plants you have in the meantime  image

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

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,611

    Take photos and notes as things emerge so you can look back and decide what was good, what was OK and what you really disliked so you can tweak the garden and plants to make the garden your own.

    Make a list also of things you'd like to add - a particular tree, shrub, climber, perennial etc and also any seating or play areas you need to add.    Then you can work out what to do and in what order according to need, time and budget.

    Enjoy - and don't worry about asking for lots of advice and info on here.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • linzi64uklinzi64uk Posts: 85

    Thanks Obelixx

    I have been taking photos of every plant that is growing. Up to now I'm liking most but do need to thin out & decide what to do. I have been getting tips of friends & also a volunteer gardner who keeps a beautiful cottage garden at a local farm museum that I visit often & also volunteer when I can. Bless him, he has so much patience with me when I'm running round like a child in a sweet shop pointing & asking questions haha. I have also told him about this forum & although he isn't great on technology he says he would love to have something like this as he isn't himself an expert.

    I have again tried to upload some pics on here but think as you said, they are too large so will try to make them smaller. 

    I am at present dead heading marigolds & giving them away plus keeping some myself as one of the beds was over run by them, I have pulled quite a few up which has given more plants some sunlight & breathing space, 2 of them roses which are now in flower, plus the Oster is looking much better. 

    The bed I am talking of is in front of a natural hedgerow so plants are also trying to compete with bramble & rape seed which I am constantly  pulling out as not sure about weed killer so close to plants.

    Well time to play in my garden for an hour before relaxing


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