Clematis Care



Proper Clematis Care Can Depend On The Variety

When it comes to clematis care you'll eventually discover that some varieties seem to thrive on neglect, while other varieties require the tender loving care that only a dedicated gardener can offer. There are many varieties of clematis that grow in the wild, suggesting that they are a tough, hardy plant. Some of the varieties you purchase however, demand constant care, perhaps most certainly require some.

Location, Location, Location - The first consideration when planting a clematis should be location. When you purchase the plant, the information that goes along with the variety should indicate whether the plant is a sun lover or shade lover. If in doubt you can plant it in a location where it will get partial shade. A good rule of thumb for clematis care is to keep the roots cool and the tops warm. If you can place the plant where the roots are permanently shaded but the vines get good sunlight, that would be the best possible situation. Otherwise, cover the roots with mulch, flat rocks, or broken crockery so they will stay cool and moist.

A shovel full of compost and one of well rotted manure placed in the planting hole will get almost any clematis plant off to a great start. A second rule of thumb for clematis care then would be that when first planting, give it this good helping of nutrition. Water the plant deeply at first, but be sure the soil will drain well. Many garden flowers, the clematis included, need moist soil, but don't like constantly soaked feet.

A final note about planting location. Try your best to locate the plant where it is going to stay permanently. Established clematis plants do not take to transplanting well, and if you move it, it may die on you, or simply not perform well in its new spot.

Tendrils Or Twining - Some clematis varieties climb by grabbing on to structure with tendrils. If you have a lattice or trellis, the plant will usually climb easily though you may have to train it occasionally to climb where you'd like. Other varieties climb by intertwined vines. In other words they climb on there own stems. This can at times create a problem as a collection of intertwined stems can become top heave and fall to the side. This type of clematis usually required fasteners, such as twine if growing on a trellis or on lattice, or cup hooks if growing against a wall or up a post.

A Little Patience May Be Needed - Even if you give the best clematis care you can, it can sometimes take a clematis plant two or three years to become firmly established, and become a profuse bloomer. For this reason, it is sometimes a good idea to purchase a clematis which already has several stems, rather than a single stem. This can give you a bit of a jump start. But through a regimen of proper feeding and watering, and assuming the plant is in a good location, it can easily grow to a height of 10 feet or more and a spread of nearly that amount, and give you hundreds of blooms over a relatively long period. Once this takes place, it will happen year after year.

Handle With Care - As far as clematis care when dealing with established plants is concerned, just remember that the stems are rather fragile, and if you handle them too roughly when attempting to train them to grow a certain way, you can easily damage a stem, even one of the major stems. So gentle handling is the watchword.