Clematis

Clematis Large Flower Hagley Hybrid

Large family of hardy, deciduous and evergreen climbers, that support themselves by curling their leaf stalks around any support medium within reach. Suitable for training against walls, pergolas or old tree-trunks. Certain varieties can also spread along the ground to form a dense thicket if no support is provided.

Clematis can be divided into three main groups.

Group 1: Early Flowering
Group 2: Summer Flowering
Group 3: Late Flowering

Most clematis are relatively hardy in the UK and will grow in most moist but well drained garden soils. Most varieties flower best in a sunny position, but the roots should kept in the shade or under the cover of larger plants. However, some paler flowering varieties can become bleached if continuously exposed to bright sunlight.

Varieties of Clematis

Popular varieties of clematis grown in the UK include:

Nelly Moser Flowers
Clematis 'Nelly Moser'

Lanuginosa group
clematis paradise
Clematis 'Ascotiensis'
Large Late Flowering
Clematis Montana rubens flowers
Clematis montana
Early Flowering


Pruning Clematis

Pruning clematis is complicated and depends mainly on the variety and its flowering period.

Pruning at the wrong time of year can mean loss of blooms and/or incorrect growth habit. Therefore you should ensure that all clematis plants in the garden are clearly labeled in order to avoid pruning errors.

Spring and early summer flowering varieties (groups 1 & 2), such as armandii, alpina, 'Henri', 'Nellie Moser', macropetala and montana, should be pruned immediately after flowering, when the stems can be simply shortened to tidy-up the plant.

Later summer or early autumn flowering varieties (group 3), such as 'Comtesse de Bouchaud', 'Ernest Markham', flammula, 'Hagley Hybrid', 'Jackmanii', 'Marie Boisselot', orientalis, 'The President', tangutica, viticella, and 'Ville de Lyon', are best pruned in February, when they should be cut back to the lowest bud; around 12 inches (30cm) or so above ground level.

Pruning Clematis Group 1:  Flowers in spring and early summer on shoots produced in the previous season. Requires very little pruning, except to trim back old flowering shoots immediately after flowering.
Pruning Clematis Group 2: Flowers from May to June on short shoots produced in the previous season. Cut back flowering shoots once blooms have finished. Can be left unpruned if necessary.
Pruning Clematis Group 3: Flowers from mid to late summer. Should be pruned back hard to the lowest buds in February.


Any old and neglected group 1 & 2 plants, that have grown into a tangled mass of stems, can simply be cut back in early spring to a main bud, leaving the main stem or stems to regrow. This will affect flowering on most varieties and should not repeated again for at least three years. 

Planting Clematis

Plant in a good open and well drained soil with plenty of leaf mould to keep the roots moist. Most varieties enjoy lime and like to grow with their roots in the shade and their leaves in the sun. Many varieties will also benefit from deep planting, so that around 4 inches (10cm) of soil covers the top of the root ball. Therefore, it is best to check plant labels carefully for instructions before planting.

Note: If planting against the base of a wall, plant the clematis several feet away from the wall and train the main stem(s) back towards the wall, using support canes. This will help to ensure that the roots do not dry-out as much, due to the rain shadow cast by the wall.

Propagating Clematis

Propagate by sowing seed in early spring or by layering or taking cuttings in June or early July. Named hybrids should only be increased by layering or cuttings.