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Old 08-11-2019, 09:02 PM
 
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I inherited a lovely clematis that is in desperate need of pruning. I know there are different types, but I'm clueless. I'm going to attach a picture in bloom this year and now that the flower is over. It looks to me like it's been needing pruning for a long while and I don't want to kill it.
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Need advice on how to prune clematis-img_1683.jpg   Need advice on how to prune clematis-img_1857.jpg   Need advice on how to prune clematis-img_1860.jpg  
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Old 08-11-2019, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Olympia area (for now)
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That’s a beautiful clematis! Not sure what type it is, but it wouldn’t hurt to take at least half that wood off. I also took over a clematis from the previous owner. Earlier this summer, it got covered with powdery mildew. I fed it a systemic that feeds and kills off bugs and mildew and cut back most of the plant, even though it was blooming. After a couple of months of deep watering, it has come back beautifully and is covered with deep purple blooms. Plants are tougher than you think, give yours a good pruning but don’t overdo. Any clematis appreciates regular doses of plant food and water.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:02 PM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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That's a gorgeous plant but it does need to be pruned back. It's too soon to prune it now though because the plant is not dormant yet, it still has some greenery on it so if you prune it now it could shock it. Generally speaking clematis plants will get pruned back in late winter/early spring while the whole plant is still dormant and no sap is running yet so the plant doesn't go into shock.

I think you should prune that one back down to about one third of the height and fullness that it is right now. While you're at it selectively take out most of the very thinnest, spindliest and weakest stems/branches that start at ground level and cut them right off at ground level. That will be healthier for the plant and will help to open the plant up more and provide more sunlight and air circulation to all the stronger, thicker stems that remain.

Don't expect to get quite as many flowers next year after pruning away the weakest stems but do expect new, stronger and healthier branch and stem growth from the bigger stems and you will get a bushier plant with more flowers the following year after that. Try to give it more upright support to grow directly upwards on and tie parts of it back where necessary so that it will reach and grow upwards as much as possible instead of reaching out horizontally. Remember to deadhead expiring flowers so that the plant will continue to produce flowers for longer during the growing/blooming season.

.
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:12 PM
 
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Ask Monty Don: https://youtu.be/cc0NdihUjXk
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:53 PM
 
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It is a stunner in bloom, but I want it out of the porch rail (which is going to fail at some point) and on a trellis. I want all that dead stuff out, too, but I'm not sure - how to put this? I don't want to cut off too much live stuff and it's such a mass of twigs that I don't know how I'll separate the live from the spent. It does have a little trellis in there that it consumed entirely long ago.

So should I try to follow from the ends back or from the ground up? And thanks for the info. I can do it while dormant and I'll feed it next spring.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Olympia area (for now)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC refugee View Post
It is a stunner in bloom, but I want it out of the porch rail (which is going to fail at some point) and on a trellis. I want all that dead stuff out, too, but I'm not sure - how to put this? I don't want to cut off too much live stuff and it's such a mass of twigs that I don't know how I'll separate the live from the spent. It does have a little trellis in there that it consumed entirely long ago.

So should I try to follow from the ends back or from the ground up? And thanks for the info. I can do it while dormant and I'll feed it next spring.
The problem is that some clematis bloom on old wood and some bloom from the ground up. Probably the best way is to start from the top and cut it down about halfway. That way, you’ll have some bloom, regardless. The clematis I have blooms from the ground up, so I cut it to about two feet off the ground and in an about a week, it started producing new leaves.

Don’t be afraid to give your clematis a good pruning. I just took a snap of this one and it’s hard to believe in June, I had to cut it down to a few bare twigs. I was worried it might not bloom again this year, glad I was wrong. No ugly white mildew in sight.
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Need advice on how to prune clematis-6bc12768-35f5-41bd-ba1f-f5ea7baa92f3.jpeg  

Last edited by Taz22; 08-13-2019 at 09:03 AM..
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
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After frost, or in early spring, cut it all the way back to about a foot. It will shoot out new growth as soon as the weather warms up.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:28 AM
 
Location: British Columbia ~🌄 ☀️ ♥ 🍁 ♥ ☀️🌄~
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC refugee View Post
It is a stunner in bloom, but I want it out of the porch rail (which is going to fail at some point) and on a trellis. I want all that dead stuff out, too, but I'm not sure - how to put this? I don't want to cut off too much live stuff and it's such a mass of twigs that I don't know how I'll separate the live from the spent. It does have a little trellis in there that it consumed entirely long ago.

So should I try to follow from the ends back or from the ground up? And thanks for the info. I can do it while dormant and I'll feed it next spring.

If I was trimming it I'd start with my grass & hedge shears first and trim it just as if I was trimming and shaping a hedge. Cut off all the excess growth on the top straight across and then cut off the front, all that overhanging bulky stuff that is sticking out horizontally, cut that straight down from top to the bottom.

Once all the excess height, depth and width is cut off and out of the way it's a lot easier to see into the interior of the shrub and then using small pruning shears to selectively remove each of the smaller, weaker scraggly individual twigs from the ground up. Just cut and pull them out. It is going to be time consuming to cut out the individual twigs but just be patient and take into consideration that you won't have to do such a thorough job again.

Don't worry about what is alive and what is dead because new growth from the strong stems is going to fill most of it in again, and any dead twigs that are remaining and visibly sticking out can be trimmed off later when the plant has leafed out again and it's easier to tell the difference between live and dead.

.
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Old 08-17-2019, 05:23 AM
 
Location: NJ
12,535 posts, read 22,525,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NYC refugee View Post
I inherited a lovely clematis that is in desperate need of pruning. I know there are different types, but I'm clueless. I'm going to attach a picture in bloom this year and now that the flower is over. It looks to me like it's been needing pruning for a long while and I don't want to kill it.
It's beautiful! The color is like my Ramona clematis but your inside is a creamy color. Look at Silver Moon; looks similar.

Can you ask your friend what clematis they gave you?

I normally train them while they're growing. I'll also trim them after they're done. I'm going to be digging my Ramona and a rose by it to take. I'm not worried about pruning too much, it will come back.

Is yours blooming on new shoots or old?
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:11 AM
 
3,909 posts, read 1,715,295 times
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Originally Posted by Roselvr View Post
It's beautiful! The color is like my Ramona clematis but your inside is a creamy color. Look at Silver Moon; looks similar.

Can you ask your friend what clematis they gave you?

I normally train them while they're growing. I'll also trim them after they're done. I'm going to be digging my Ramona and a rose by it to take. I'm not worried about pruning too much, it will come back.

Is yours blooming on new shoots or old?
It was here when I moved in and the person who planted it is dead. The house and yard were untended for almost 2 years.

It's not silver moon as it bloomed in May. I went back to check my photo date since the little Monty Don clip said if it blooms before June, don't prune. My neighbor offered me a larger trellis she found while clearing her shed and I wanted to clean the plant up and get it set for the next while, but like I said in the beginning, I'm clueless.

It's blooming on new growth on (I think) old shoots.
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