Why Won’t My Clematis Bloom?


Whether sprawling over a fence or scrambling through rose bushes, few garden plants are as beautiful as clematis vines (Clematis spp.). It’s frustrating when they don’t bloom as expected.

Improper Pruning

  • Prune clematis at the wrong time and you remove the flower buds. As a general rule of thumb, spring-blooming clematis plants are pruned after flowering, fall-flowering clematises are pruned in early spring and large-flowered clematises are pruned lightly in spring and then after the first flush of flowers.

Not Enough Sun

  • An old adage about clematises is that they like their heads in the sun but their feet in the shade. Clematis will not bloom well with less than six hours of sunlight a day. Mulch their roots or grow a low-growing ground cover over them to keep the roots cool.

Soil Problems

  • Grow clematis in rich, moist, well-drained soil with a pH near neutral of 7.0. The wrong pH inhibits the plant’s ability to take up minerals from the soil.


  • Except for early-blooming Clematis montana, clematis vines don’t compete well with tree roots, plus the trees block the sunlight.

Incorrect Fertilization

  • Clematis grown near fertilized lawn areas may get too much nitrogen fertilizer to bloom. Make sure you don’t inadvertently broadcast lawn fertilizer into your flower garden. Use an all-purpose flower garden fertilizer for your clematis vines.

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