The lovely clematis plant comes in many flowering species and varieties, some climbing vines and others shrubby evergreen growths. Pruning is beneficial if you do it correctly and at the right time. Determine what kind of clematis you are growing to determine what kind of trimming you should do and when. Some clematis bloom in early spring on old growth, such as "Alpine" or "Montana." Others, such as "Duchess of Edinburgh" and "Nelly Moser," bloom in the late spring or early summer, also on old wood. A third kind of clematis, usually smaller varieties such as "Jackmanni" and "Sweet Autumn," bloom in the summer or early fall on new wood.
- Moderately Easy
things you’ll need:
- Hand clippers
- Prune early spring-blooming clematis soon after blooming in the spring or early summer. Do not trim them for winter, or you will cut off the buds that will bloom the next year. Prune branches back several feet to the healthy parent branches, but don’t cut off the woody trunks.
- Prune late spring or early summer-blooming clematis lightly in the late winter or early spring. Prune top growth down to the first set of healthy green buds. At this time, also prune weak, damaged and old unproductive branches — ones with no buds — down to the ground or parent branch.
- Trim summer or fall-blooming clematis after the growing season, in the late fall or early winter. Prune it back to about 2 to 3 feet above the ground. It will grow back and bloom on the top 2 to 3 feet of new wood the next growing season. You can also do this type of pruning in the early spring before new growth.