Planting Clematis enables a gardener to have a thick crop of blossoms from early spring to late fall. This is accomplished by growing a variety of Clematis, all with different bloom times that can be grown together or planted in complimentary areas of the garden.
Most clematis produce single flowers that range in size from 1 inch to as large as 10 inches. Some varieties produce double flowers and some produce single and double flowers.
The blooms of clematis will often change colour through the life of the flower, particularly when grown in full sun. The pastel colours hold their colour best if grown in the shade.
In colder climates where temperatures drop below 0F (-20C), foundation planting and mulch are required to ensure a long life. Long days and high light provide ideal growing conditions.
New growth will come from buried dormant buds and the flowers will bloom in mid-summer.
To protect clematis from the reflective heat of the sun, plant behind a low growing shrub which will give shade to the first 3 feet of the plant.
Double flowering varieties are not normally recommended for colder zones. If they freeze, only single flowers will appear in the next growing season.
In zones where temperatures do not drop below 0F (-20C), clematis plants are limited only by your ideas. They prefer full or filtered sun and need four or more hours of good light per day.
Clematis can be planted when the ground is workable. They react to the seasons like bulbs - vigorous root growth in summer and fall, flowers the following spring.
If you choose to plant in the fall, prune the following spring. This will inhibit flowers for the first year but will promote root development and produce a bushier plant.
If you plant in summer, ensure that you provide sufficient water to keep roots moist and cool.
Clematis need to be happy with their planting site for the next several decades, some clematis are over 80 years old and still blooming. They need a cool, moist place with plenty of water and regular, balanced feeding.
Dig a hole 18 inches deep by 18 inches wide. Cover the bottom with a good rich compost or well-rotted manure. Add enough topsoil to cover the compost and you are ready to plant.
Place your well watered clematis in the hole so that 6 inches is below the soil line
Plant a small shrub in front to allow a cool root run for the clematis.
An inappropriate pruning will delay flowering but all varieties will still flower well if left unpruned. However by not pruning the flowers may not cover the whole plant as they could.
The first tip in pruning is to cut back all clematis around the first of February or March, after planting. You should see leaf buds develop as the plant awakens. Leave two sets of buds on each stem between where you make your cut and the soil level.
The following describes three main pruning categories:
A) Varieties that flower only on growth produced the previous year. Cut out weak or dead stems as soon as they finish blooming in May or June. Pruning later than June will result in fewer blooms the next spring.
B) Varieties that flower on wood that has been hardened by the previous year's growth. Normal flowering patterns are flowers in May-June on the previous year's growth and then a second bloom in September of the current season's growth.
C) This variety blooms at the same time with last year's growth and the current season's growth. They normally bloom from June to September continuously