The next couple of weeks is really the last window to prune the summer flowering clematis. There’s a lot of confusion on how and when to prune the various types of clematis. They are divided into three groups to aid pruning methods. Group 1 are the winter and spring flowering group, group 2 are the early-mid summer group and group 3 are the late flowering group which include everything flowering from mid summer to early autumn.
Pruning them is pretty easy, all you need to remember with pruning them if you have lost the label and haven’t got a clue on what group they belong to, is think about when they flower, if it’s during the winter early/mid spring then it’s group 1, flowering mid may to end of June, then it’s group 2 anything later is group 3, most viticellas belong in this group.
It’s groups 2-3 that we are looking to do this week. They can be done from January onwards but I prefer to do them now, just as the young shoots are starting to appear. They are some of the easiest plants to prune, the basic rule is, the later they flower the harder you can be with them. Group 2 is pruned down to a small frame work of stems approx 3ft from the ground with any weak growths removed. This helps the plants get away quicker and higher before they flower. If needed they can also be cut back hard to regerate the plant. Group 3 is pruned down a lot harder right down to 6-12inches in hieght , again with weak growths removed. With each one, I prune back to a live bud breaking or a real fat bud waiting to burst
Nice and easy
Soon after pruning I will feed the with Vitax Q4 ferilizer and then mulch with well rotted manure in about 3ftsq area around the plant, this helps to get the plants growing away nice and strongly and then enjoy the flowers in the summer.
For a guide for basic pruning cuts please see my other blog here