Clematis: planting, cultivation, maintenance and flowering

There are nearly 300 varieties of clematis, climbing or herbaceous plants of extremely diverse shapes and colors, deciduous or evergreen, and which bloom at different times of the year. With their large flowers, they turn out to be pure wonders in the garden or on the terrace since they can be planted in the ground or in pots. Let’s see how to successfully grow a clematis every time.

Plant a clematis

Clematis should be planted outside of periods of very high heat or frost. Provided that these two conditions are respected, this plant which is bought in a container can therefore be planted or in a pot at almost any time of the year as long as its stems are already sufficiently robust. This is also the key point to watch out for when buying, much more than the beauty or the color of its flowers. Nevertheless, experienced gardeners advise to plant preferably a clematis either early fall is in spring when the first rays of the sun have already started to warm the earth.

The clematis likes rich soils, furniture and deep but also well drained and who stay fresh in summer. We reserve a sunny to half-shaded exposure so that she has her foot in the shade and the rest in the sun. It must also be installed in a place where it can take advantage of rainwater, which is not always the case if it is sheltered by a wall. But beware of heavy rains from which it is imperative to protect your foot.

The method of planting a clematis in the ground is the following :

  • Dig a hole 45 cm deep and in diameter,
  • Remove stones, weed roots and plant debris,
  • Take the root ball out of the container and put it to soak in a bucket of water,
  • Prepare the substrate by mixing the topsoil extracted from the hole and perfectly loosened to potting soil for flowering plants and compost,
  • Let the root ball drain after taking it out of the bucket,
  • Place the root ball in the hole and position it so that the plant is lying down and the birth of the stem is buried: it must be 20 cm below the natural level of the soil. It is essential for:
    • Protect the strain from frost,
    • Promote the rooting of the plant.
  • Recap the hole,
  • Water,
  • Direct the first stems towards their support and fix them with raffia without tightening them. You can choose to make your clematis climb along a totem pole, a garden arch, a trellis, a fence …

It is necessary to lay a tile or a wooden plank in order to create a shading on the foot. You can also choose to grow ground covers in the immediate vicinity of a clematis.

To plant a clematis in pot, it is also necessary to install the root ball obliquely, as is done for a placement in the ground, and ensure that the beginning of the stem is under a good thickness of soil. Be careful to check that the pot has a drilled bottom. It is advisable to lay a layer of drainage before filling the container with potting soil mixed with compost and good topsoil.

Caring for a clematis

Here is the care for a clematis so that it grows smoothly and blooms profusely.


Clematis have need very regular watering during the first two years following their planting, mainly in summer or in case of drought, on average about fifteen liters of water every 14 days per plant. It should be noted that for a potted clematis, we are very careful because the substrate dries out quickly, especially when it is very hot, and the plants can suffer even more than their cousins ​​grown in the ground.

Once well rooted, the clematis endures a few days of drought, but it should not be neglected for all that.


It is in spring that you can add fertilizer to boost the vigor of this beautiful plant. A home-made compost is perfect for two shovelfuls per plant.


It is depending on its flowering period that we prune a clematis.

The summer flowering clematis are pruned at the very beginning of spring, between the second half of February and mid-March, that is to say when the vegetation starts again. All dead wood is removed and you can cut above a pair of large enough buds if you want to shorten the twigs.

When the plant is too thin, after a few years, do not hesitate to prune 20 or 30 cm from the ground so that it starts again with a vengeance, even if it means that it does not flower in the year. The old feet tolerate a severe pruning well, 25 to 30 cm from the ground.

As to early flowering clematis, they prune immediately after flowering. These are the ones whose flower buds form in the fall on the shoots of the previous summer. One is satisfied to remove the stems or branches badly placed as well as the dead wood and, if one wishes to contain their development, it is possible to also remove the excess branches.

Some gardeners with a lot of space don’t necessarily prune their clematis every year. They then take a beautiful scale. They only perform severe pruning every now and then if their plants are balding.

Protection in winter

In regions with harsh climates, it is better to take care to install your clematis in the sun but also sheltered from cold winds. However, to take no risk, do not hesitate to protect a clematis against the harmful effects of freezing, we recommend spreading a thick carpet dead leaves all around its foot. This mulch may also consist of wilted ferns. No matter what you choose, its component must be very dry so as not to promote rotting of the foot. It is therefore advisable to cover the mulch with tiles or even wooden planks.

Parasites and diseases

Clematis is a resistant plant, which does not fear much, except the pathogenic fungus Ascochyta clematidina responsible forascochytosis. This fungal disease causes the sudden decline of the plant whose stems, parched in well-defined areas at the beginning, seem to have been burned by cigarettes. But the lesions spread quickly and the plant becomes necrotic. We then notice its defoliation, a deterioration of the flowers and the stems break.

For avoid the risk of ascochytosis, it is necessary to eliminate all the plant debris at the end of the season and to prefer watering at the foot of the plants rather than by spraying the leaves. In the event of suspection, recourse may be had to Bordeaux mixture which is well suited against attacks by pathogenic fungi. At the same time, it is strongly recommended to cut all the stems and branches at the base at ground level and then burn them. Then add fertilizer after having scratched the soil around the foot. Some time later, new shoots will appear.

Flowering clematis

As soon as the clematis flowers wilt, they can be completely eliminated, but this can quickly become tedious if the plant has reached a good height. Cut the faded flowers progressively helps limit the formation of fruits which can exhaust the plant. However, some people choose to let them grow because they bring a decorative touch to the garden, on the terrace or the balcony. It is a solution which is especially of interest on the most vigorous clematis which are already a few years old.

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