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How to Prune Dead Wood on Clematis


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With its long vines and colorful flowers, clematis provides an attractive addition to the garden. The vines require a trellis or fence to climb up, which allows them to add vertical color to the home landscape. Depending on the variety, clematis bloom on either old wood or new wood. Those that flower on new wood can be pruned anytime from the end of the flowering period until before new growth begins in spring. Those that bloom on old wood must be pruned immediately after blooming.

Difficulty:
Easy

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Pruning shears
    1. Cut out any dead or damaged branches from clematis in late winter and again after blooming. Removal of dead wood doesn’t inhibit flowering on any clematis variety. Cut the dead vines back to the nearest healthy wood, using sharp shears.
    2. Remove all the old wood from clematis varieties that bloom on new wood before growth resumes in spring. The old wood will not flower again, and eventually it also stops producing leaves. Cut all the old wood back to within 1 to 3 inches of the ground.
    3. Trim the remaining new stems on the new wood bloomers back to a bud that’s within 18 inches of the ground. This ensures they produce flowers along their entire length and don’t die out at the bottom and only bloom near the top of the plant.

Tips & Warnings

  • Only prune out dead and damaged vines from old-wood blooming varieties. These types of clematis require only minimal maintenance pruning.

  • New wood bloomers generally flower in midsummer or fall. Old wood varieties usually flower in spring.

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