When to plant in zone 5?

spectrobelleFebruary 23, 2009

I recently bought 3 Jackmanii clematis from Lowe's, they are in a green bag inside a carton. The box says they are 2 yr old plants. This is my first time trying this plant so I'm not sure what to expect.

When is it ok to put them in the ground, and should I expect to see much of them this year? Where should I store them in the meantime? I currently have them in my garage where it is quite cool, I was afraid they would sprout too early if kept warm.

Thanks!

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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

What to do with them will really depend on how large the root system is. I have yet to see anything sold at Lowes in a bag within a carton have very large root system. If they were mine, I would pot them up in one gallon sized pots with potting soil and water them in well. Keeping them in a cold garage which stays at or slightly above freezing will allow the roots to establish themselves and grow without putting out any top growth. If it gets too warm they will start putting out top growth. I am very hesitant to suggest that anything one purchases in a bag gets directly planted in the ground, especially if you are new to clematis and haven't grown them before. As the weather warms, you can begin moving them outside when it is nice and then plant them when it is advisable to plant other potted plants in your area. Just realize that clematis can take a couple of years to establish their root systems so it may be a few years before you get big flushes of flowers. Pinching out the growing tips as the plant does put out foliage will encourage branching and more photosynthetic area for the plant to synthesize and store nutrients. This is a type III clematis so it should be cut back close to the ground when it is pruned each spring. Also, make sure to plant the plant deeper in the ground than it was in its pot since this buries dormant nodes which can give rise to more shoots from the base of the plant.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 3:33PM
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michael_in_chicago(z5)

I would do what Miguel said. If you're like my z5, the ground would require a pick ax at this point in the winter, anyway. As long as there isn't much root competition, I would transfer them from the pot to the ground around early April and keep them really well watered this first year.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:00PM
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spectrobelle

Thanks for the replies! I will tuck them in and put them in a dark corner until brighter days. Can't wait to see a bloom. :)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 9:51PM
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bekcgarden(5b)

The last date for a freeze in zone 5 is April 15. That is the average. I always wait at least a week after that before I really start planting. Enjoy :)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2009 at 9:57PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

That is amazing Bekcgarden. Here in the piedmont of NC the last average frost date is also April the 15th. Kind of hard to believe that it is the same here in zone 7a or 7b, depending on whom you talk to, as for you in zone 5. Also, that date only applies to things that are not frost tolerant since we can plant most containerized and balled and bagged things here all winter long as long as the ground is not frozen.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 8:23AM
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judith5bmontreal

I realize that Montreal is zone 5 Can, but probably zone 4 or 4b U.S.; however, our last frost date is May 10th. April 15th does sound kind of early. Bekcgarden, whereabouts are you located? As Miguel says, 'last frost date' only applies to non-hardy things - we plant our roses and hardy plants from April 15th on.
Judith

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 9:00AM
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sue_in_nova_scotia

Weird...this has my last frost date as April 1st to April 30th in zone 5 in Nova Scotia yet locally no one plants before June...preferably after Mothers day weekend. Some people arround here have a hard fast rule about no planting before the full moon in June. This would apply to any "purchased" plants or grown inside plants but not to perennials that are already growing outside and are fully hardened off.

Here is a link that might be useful: frost dates..

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 9:32AM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Just goes to show that what you find on the web may or may not be true! For us, the old gardening tale is that farmer's plant their spring gardens on Good Friday. Now sometimes that works out but other times it doesn't. Two years ago, we had extremely warm weather early and then Easter weekend we had temps down into the low 20s. Quite a few things got zapped and anything that would have been planted out by the old gardening rule would have been frozen beyond recognition.

As far as last average frost days, they are just averages. If I remember correctly, our absolute safe time to plant out to not have to worry about any extremely late frosts is sometime in May. Of course I never wait until then to plant things out--even those things that are not frost hardy. Believe me however, I have been out there at times covering things up if a later than normal frost is called for! LOL

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 11:36AM
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judith5bmontreal

Yes, Miguel, I also have a good supply of row cover and frost blankets in my shed, and they've been used many times in the past, when my impatience got the best of me. It's hard to be sensible when spring fever hits!
Judith

    Bookmark   February 28, 2009 at 7:00PM
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spectrobelle

Ok just a follow up - is Clematis hardy enough to plant when there is still potential frost but not hard freeze? My little guys in the garage are taking off now that the temps are warmer, and I just finished building their new trellis :) I am wondering about planting them within the next 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 8:32PM
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bradarmi

I second what Miguel says, pot it up and let it grow an extensive root system. This is good for two reasons:
1. you won't have to protect a little twig nor have to find it in the garden.
2. its mobile, so if you are unsure where exactly you want it, you can try it in a spot for a few weeks to see how it will fit.

If they start top growth and we get a frost, it will be put back severely. I would put it in a garage at night and keep it outside on warm sunny days for some fresh air. Its a lot of work, but in the end, you will have a large clematis with an extensive root system that will take off.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2009 at 8:59PM
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spectrobelle

Ok so just one more NEWBIE question....what exactly is meant by "pinching"? Do you cut off the leaves or cut back the vine itself? They are in the garage but definitely have some top growth now, I do want strong hardy plants.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2009 at 1:35PM
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