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How to Get a Clematis to Grow More Than One Stem


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Clematis are heavy-blooming vines that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The plants need full sun for the foliage but a cooler zone for the roots. Clematis can be purchased already started, or you can start it by rhizome. You can ensure that your clematis has plenty of stems when you buy a plant, but you never know what you are going to get when you plant a rhizome. Ideally you should have three to four stems in case one breaks or gets eaten. There are a few tricks to make sure you don’t get shortchanged on stems and even have a spare or two.

Difficulty:
Moderately Easy

Instructions

things you’ll need:
  • Shovel
  • Pruners
  • Clematis vine or root
  • Bucket
  • Liquid fertilizer, 10-5-5, or manure
    1. Dig a hole big enough to accommodate the root system of the clematis vine. Bury the plant up to its lowest leaf node. This will encourage the plant to fill out. If planting a root, soak it for two hours in the bucket of water.
    2. Plant the root at least 8 inches into the ground. Make certain the planting location is sunny but the lower soil area is partially shaded. Clematis flowers best when it is rising to the sun while its roots remain in a cool area.
    3. Cut the vine back 12 inches. If you have broken a stem or purchased a plant with only one stem, this will encourage the plant to push out more growth. It also tells the plant to expend more energy on rooting.
    4. Cut the plant back for two years. The first year, the plant is establishing and barely grows. The second year, there will only be a few flowers. These first two years are the time for the plant to grow a vigorous root system and create a network of healthy stems to support the third season’s bumper crop of blooms.
    5. Fertilize in early spring with a liquid fertilizer high in nitrogen. Nitrogen helps in the formation of green leafy growth and stem development. It also encourages healthy root development. Nitrogen can come from a packaged fertilizer or just a topical application of manure. Apply either one as package directions indicate.

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