Clematis varieties come in three flowering groups. The group one varieties flower in early- to mid-spring, earlier than the other groups. These clematis vines flower on year-old wood, so pruning must occur after the flowering period, or the flowering canes will accidentally be removed. Group one clematis mainly require pruning for aesthetic purposes, not for continued health. Clematis varieties in group one primarily grow in areas that experience little frost, since the 1-year vines can’t survive prolonged freezing.
things you’ll need:
- Pruning shears
- Cut back damaged and dead branches in late winter or early spring after the buds begin swelling. Trim the dead branches back to the nearest healthy wood. Only cleanup pruning is necessary before flowering.
- Prune out the old wood that just completed flowering. Cut these canes back to soil level.
- Trim overly tall and overgrown canes back by up to one-third their height. Make the pruning cut within 1/4 inch of a leaf or bud.
- Renovate old, overgrown or poorly blooming clematis. Cut these plants back to within 6 to 12 inches of the ground immediately after flowering. Renovated clematis may not flower until the second spring after renovation.
Tips & Warnings
Group one clematis do not require yearly pruning and only require pruning when the plants become overgrown, crowded or start flowering poorly.
Do not renovate the clematis more often than every three years. Overpruning weakens the plant and may result in vine death.