A Guide to Pruning Clematis


Clematis plants are flowering vines that are popular because they are easy to grow and provide vertical interest around a home. There are approximately 250 species of clematis in the world as well as many hybrids. Pruning clematis can improve the plant’s structure and make it seem bushier. But clematis pruning can be a confusing subject. This is because the vines are divided into three types based on whether they are hybrids or flower on old vine wood or new vine wood. The way in which you prune a clematis is based on the flowering habit.



things you’ll need:
  • Pruning shears

Early Flowering Clematis

  1. Note when the clematis bloom. Clematis that bloom in early spring prior to June are early flowering plants. Early blooming clematis produce blooms on old growth. These plants should be pruned after the vines have lost their blooms and before July.
  2. Remove any shoots that have bloomed using a pair of gardening shears.
  3. Remove vines to reduce the size of the plant and shape it. Avoid cutting into woody trunks of the plant.

Pruning Hybrid Clematis

  1. Compare the size of your clematis blooms against other clematis plants. Hybrid clematis blooms have larger blossoms that bloom on short stems in mid-June. These plants blossom on stems from the previous season’s growth and may produce a second set of blossoms in late summer or early fall on new growth.
  2. Prune hybrid late-bloomers in early February by removing dead and weak stems.
  3. Cut back the remaining stems to the two topmost buds. This cut may be anywhere between a few inches up to a foot from the stem tips.

Late Flowering Clematis

  1. Measure the distance from lowermost blooms to the base of the plant. Late flowering clematis only bloom on new vine growth within the last 2 to 3 feet of the vine.
  2. Prune late flowering clematis in late February or March.
  3. Cut the entire vine back so that it is 2 to 3 feet tall. The plant will produce a flush of new growth on which the blossoms will form

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