Clematis is easy to grow and care for and can live for 25 years or more. It is a hardy vining plant that can be grown from zone 3 to 10.
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Clematis should be planted as dormant plants in the spring. If planting in the autumn, you should do so no later than September so the plants have a chance to get established before winter.
Where to Plant Clematis
Clematis should be placed in full sun but a little shade during the hottest part of the afternoon is appreciated.
To prevent wilt, allow for air movement around the plant by digging the soil 24 inches deep and two to three feet wide where the clematis plants are going to be planted. The area should then have good drainage.
Soak bare root plants in water for one hour before planting to rehydrate them, then plant the roots with the crown one to two inches below soil level.
Clematis like to have their roots cool. Plant low growing flowers or a cover crop around them. Mulching can help but the plants are more susceptible to wilt with mulch than if partnered with other plants.
Space plants 24″-36″ apart. When planting near a fence or trellis place the plant 12 inches from the base. If planting by a tree, place the plant three feet from the tree on the north side. The tree will help to shade the roots.
Clematis needs a deep watering once a week.
How to Prune Clematis
Prune clematis plants in the spring or fall. If the plants bloom on year old wood, then prune after blooming. If the plant blooms on new wood, then cut the plant back in the spring.
New plants can be propagated by cuttings or layering. Cuttings can take up to 3 or 4 months to form roots. Layered vines usually produce a new plant after one year.
Clematis can be attacked by a fungus called Ascochyta clematidina. This causes a wilting of the stem and leaf spots. Cut back the affected stem below the diseased area.
A new stem will grow from buds on the healthy part of the plant and the crown underground. Powdery mildew can be treated with a fungicide as soon as it’s noticed.
Slugs, earwigs, and aphids are the only insects that attack clematis. If rabbits are a problem, then put a wire fence around the plant especially for the winter.
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