Growing clematis for abundant blooming: first steps count most

Clematis with beautiful flowers

Ah, so the time for planting and repotting is over… comes the time to marcot your clematis and prepare cuttings from them!

This is the best season of all to discover this amazing family of climbing perennials, with its many member that all have spectacular and abundant blooming! The seemingly unending palette of colors, bloom shapes, and leafage definitely means it’s earned a place in your garden. There are some clematis varieties that can bloom from January to December (for instance, the ‘Winter Beauty’ and the ‘cirrhosa Advent Bells’), but most of the famous ones bloom between June and September. Of the 250+ clematis species, these are the large summer-blooming ones, and they include the well-known Montana clematis.

Clematis is mighty hardy… but only if you start it out well

Tall clematis with abundant bloomingOnce it’s properly settled in, you won’t need to give your clematis much care, and it’ll still shower you with abundant flowers. Reaching that stage, however, means you really take excellent care of your “baby clematis”: it needs to always have sun at the tip, and shade at the foot.

Note that some varieties will still do ok in part shade.

To ensure this healthy sun-and-shade regime, cover the foot of the plant with a tile, old bricks, mineral mulch or just plant a low-growing shrub and ground cover around it. Most clematis species are perfectly happy in neutral soil, as long as it drains very well and contains lots of humus. A word of caution: it doesn’t like being watered! Only water when it gets really hot, and only spread water some way off: don’t wet the leaves, and don’t drench the foot of the plant. Clematis is actually very vulnerable to wilting due to fungal infections… Full sun and lots of air circulation are two things you can secure to prevent this. Lastly, it’s enough to give the plant compost in Spring and to cut it back after the blooming. If you need to reshape it more drastically, do so at the end of winter. Your clematis will have an easier time colonizing a wall and pergola if you set a treillis up for it. Over the first two years, train and tether the vine as it grows, knotting it loosely with a biodegradable fiber.

Did you know…?

Clematis is the symbol of long-lasting love.

Claire Lelong-Lehoang


Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Clematis, purple by Alex Khaizeman under Pixabay license
Abundant clematis by Sarah McElrath under Pixabay license