How to Prune Clematis Paniculata

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Clematis paniculata, or sweet autumn clematis, is a perennial plant belonging to the Ranunculaceae family. Clematis paniculata is one of many clematis varieties and is known for its cascading vines and large, creamy white flowers that are sweetly scented. The plant grows up to 30 feet, sometimes growing 10 to 20 feet in a single growing season. Because of its invasiveness, severe pruning is sometimes necessary, while light pruning helps develop a framework. Train Clematis paniculata to climb an arbor or wall, and prune for a clean, well-kept appearance.



things you’ll need:
  • Gardening gloves
  • Protective clothing
  • Handheld pruning shears
  • Garbage bag
    1. Dress in gardening gloves and protective clothing.
    2. Use handheld pruning shears to cut the vines back to 12 inches or down to the lowest pair of healthy buds in February or March, when new leaf buds begin to show on the plant. The plants flower on new growth, so flowering isn’t affected by cutting it back.
    3. Remove all dead material above the lower buds. Prune away any mildewed foliage.
    4. Prune out stems that are at least 4 years old. Flowering declines on much older stems; pruning helps produce more compact plants with flowers closer to eye level.
    5. Prune the plant lightly throughout the growing season to control size and shape, and continually prune dead or damaged stems back to a healthy vine.
    6. Cut the plant back to about 18 inches if the flowering is confined to a small area at the tops of the stems, which sometimes occurs on older vines. Do this pruning after the first blooms.
    7. Prune spent flowers lightly before seedpods develop, if the plant is taking over your garden.
    8. Cut the plant back to the ground if it has become overly invasive. Do this after the blooming season is over. Clematis paniculata can bloom through the fall, so wait until winter, once the leaves have begun to turn.
    9. Put all pruned stems in a garbage bag and dispose of them.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear gloves and protective clothing when pruning Clematis paniculata. All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause skin irritations or an allergic reaction in some people.

  • The clematis beetle, or black blister beetle, may be on the plant. Avoid touching the bugs because if you crush them, they may cause your skin to blister.

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