Clematis — flowering perennial vines — provide a versatile option for your garden because they can be used as ground cover, trained to grow up a trellis or planted in containers. Once established, they can add pop to your garden for decades. Hundreds of varieties exist, categorized as Group A, Group B or Group C. The plants are similar in many regards, but pruning requirements vary among the three groups, The Ohio State University Extension reports.
Clematis vines need about 1 inch of water per week, the University of Nebraska-Lancaster reports. If your plants get too much water, they can develop crown rot and may not develop properly or can even die back.
You should feel the soil around your clematis to decide whether to water it. If the soil is moist, hold off on irrigating the plants. Soil that is dry to the touch indicates the plants need water if no rain is forecast. If you must supplement rainfall, you should irrigate the plants once a week with a deep and thorough watering as opposed to more frequent but less thorough waterings.
The soil in which you grow clematis can affect its growth. Ideally, plant clematis in a well-draining soil that also has a good capacity for retaining water, the University of Nebraska-Lancaster recommends. You can add peat moss or other organic material to the soil at planting time to make it more amenable to the needs of the plant.
Clematis plants prefer full sun, at least six hours a day of direct light. A slightly acidic soil is best, but they also also grow in a neutral pH. Keep in mind that it typically takes one or two years before the vines begin to flower. You should prune the plants annually, but make sure you know to which group your clematis belongs and prune accordingly. Group A is early-flowering clematis, Group B contains large-flowering hybrids, and Group C is late-flowering clematis. Finally, applying a 1-2-1 fertilizer each spring and fall can make the plants more vibrant and blossoms more abundant.