How to Raise Clematis


Clematis is a genus that includes about 250 species. It’s a member of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family, which is composed of deciduous climbing plants with woody stems. Some of these plants are even evergreen. Depending upon the species, clematis may begin blooming in spring to late summer. Flower color, size and form also vary by species. Some varieties of this hardy plant can reach up to 30 feet tall.



things you’ll need:
  • Compost or manure
  • Mulch material
  • 15-5-5 fertilizer
    1. A trellis can help clematis climb upward.

      Find a site. Clematis need at least six hours of full sun per day to bloom optimally. They also need a location in which air can flow easily about the plant. Moreover, they should not be planted near large tree roots, which can interfere with their development. If you want your clematis plant to twine upward, find a spot where you can safely position a trellis or stake.

    2. Prep the soil. Prepare an area 2 feet deep by 3 feet wide for best results. Fill two-thirds with soil and one-third with compost or rotted manure.
    3. Plant the vine. Create a hole that is large enough for the plant’s roots. Plant the crown an inch or two below the surface of the soil. Fill in the area around the plant with soil and pat down the soil firmly.
    4. Water the clematis. Thorough watering immediately after planting helps the root system to begin the process of taking up nutrients from the soil. During the plant’s growing season — which varies according to species — it needs around an inch of water each week. If rainfall totals in your area suffice, you do not need to water in addition. During the first year after planting, you may not notice much vine growth; blooms may be few or nonexistent.
    5. Mulch helps clematis roots stay cool.

      Mulch the plant. Mulching helps keep the roots of your clematis vine cool. Apply a 2-inch layer around the base of the plant.

    6. Fertilize the plant. Ohio State University Extension recommends applying 8 oz. of 15-5-5 fertilizer to the 50-square-foot area around the plant. Once it is clear that the plant is growing well — that is, when the vine is getting visibly longer and blooms develop — fertilizer may not be necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are planting bare-root clematis, soak the roots in water for an hour before placing them in the ground.

  • Clematis vines have been known to climb over and virtually conceal fences, railings and even mailboxes. To control clematis growth, prune the plants yearly. Pruning techniques vary according to when (during the year) the clematis begins producing flowers.

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