General Sikorski - first year in ground, cut way back?

ginjjFebruary 28, 2012

Is the rule to cut all clematis back to 6-8" (2 good buds) the first year it is planted in the ground regardless of how many years it sat in a one gallon pot?

I planted General Sikorski in the ground last fall. I bought it a couple of years prior as a tiny plant and immediately potted it up deeper in a one gallon. It stayed in the one gallon for at least a year maybe a year and a half before I planted it. When I planted it I spread out the 4 stems it had. I now have 4 new stems that are already 16" or so long!! The original stems are brown. Happy I'd say. My question is, should I cut all those stems back to 6" or whatever is recommended for a plant at this stage? I seem to remember that doing this pruning the first year will give you more stems.



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sandyl(Zone 6B -7)

Hi Ginny
I would cut-em and not look back. The more you prune the more stems in the future you will have. I have 25 or more any where from 2 years to 10 plus years and I am the queen of pruning. I have been know to cut some down to ground level on purpose, and they do nothing but come up with more and more new shoots. I have a polish spirt that is probably 3 or 4 years old and it has been in a pot up until I planted it late October last year.It had done great in its pot and was 10 feet or more tall last year and was covered in blooms. It had about 6 vines on it when I transplanted it last year and I cut those down to about 6" and then I buryed most of those when I planted it deeper during transplanting. Looked at it over the weekend and I has 10 or more new 2" tall dark green health stems coming from the ground now.. It should be gorgeous this year. I have a group #2 some times I will cut 1/2 of it's stems down to the ground just to make it put out more stems and leave the other 1/2. I have a Ramona that is probably 10 years old and she is a group 2 and she has 20 or more vines on her right now. I have an Asao which is group 2 and she always puts out new shoots from the ground wether I prune her of not. I Always try to prune some of the vines and I also try to leave some on the 2's for the early blooms. My Ms bateman is coming on strong right now, I just clean her up a bit, not much pruning required on her and she will have probably close to a 100 blooms on her, she's a early girl for me. My Jackmanni right now probably has 15 to 20 new stems come up as well as Nelly Moser, Ms. Thompson has probably 6 new stems on her.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Hi Sandy,

I Hope that's your first name :)

Thanks for the wonderful feedback. I will definitely go prune The General.

I also have Ramona and will remember what you said.

Do you wait to see the buds plumping up before pruning your established clematis?

I sure do love this plant!!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 6:05PM
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sandyl(Zone 6B -7)

Hi Ginny.
I prun when I see buds but not necessarily plump buds. I prun late Feb to med March and or when weather permits. Last weekend I fertilized all mine with aged farm cow manure I gathered from here on our cattle farm. Here is a link from a post where I had posted with pictures:The pink one in the pictures is Sprinkles, blooms from the bottom all the way up to the top, I didn't realy like it at first but now five years later it does wonderful and is full of blooms early spring right up til summer and then I prun it down and it starts over for a later bloom. In fact I have two of the sprinkles and they get large. Sandy

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Hi Sandy,

Thanks for your note back and the link to your beautiful pictures. There are some lovely clematis on that site. I wish the red one "Rebecca" was really that red but I have read that Clematis does not come in a true red. It's tempting to try it!!


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 9:24PM
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pmermakov(Zone 6 (OH))

Ginny, I love Rebecca! If you plant it in full sun, it does fade to almost a true red. I gave my sister, Rebecca in 2010 and this is it blooming in 2011:

Rebecca in my garden:

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 3:09PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I agree, prune the General, do it now :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2012 at 9:45PM
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I always used to cut the General back every year, and he was beautiful...until he succumbed to clematis wilt. I was devastated! He's by far my favorite clematis. You were clever to pin down the vines, too--that's the way to get him nice and full.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 4:08PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Would you give the same advice for a Group 1 (montana Mayleen)?


    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 4:57PM
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