When & how to prune my Nelly Moser

esther_bMarch 20, 2013

She only gave me about 5 flowers total all last season, 2nd year of growth. I put alfalfa cubes all around her base as instructed last year. How do I prune the entire woody stem left over from last year to get maximum growth and flowers? Thanks

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How hard did you prune last year? It is generally recommended that any type of clematis get hard pruned (down to the first set of buds/leaf axils) for the first couple of seasons in the ground. That encourages a strong root system, multiple stems emerging form the root crown and a greater resistance to wilt. If it wasn't pruned hard last season, I'd do so this year.

Now is typically the time to prune most clematis types - when you would prune roses or when the forsythia is blooming. Many folks also fertilize at this time as well.

Nelly is a pruning group 2 clematis. After establishment (a couple of seasons of hard pruning) you want to prune lightly, removing about 16-18" from the top of the vine and cleaning up any dead or tangled stems. After the initial late spring/early summer bloom flush you can prune again lightly to encourage a late summer rebloom.

The hard pruning your vine should receive now will not eliminate the early flowering but only delay it a bit. I also would not be overly concerned if your vine doesn't produce as many flowers as you would like - it takes from 3-5 years for them to establish well, mature and start putting on a good show.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Thanks. The entire dead vine from last year is still entwined on the supporting post. We are currently getting very cold weather and even snow Monday here in NYC. Should I prune the dead vine from last year all the way down to the first set of leaf axils from the ground even now?

I intend to put in some more Plant-tone (organic fertilizer) when it's a little warmer. Is it time to put some broken-up alfalfa cubes down around the Nelly Moser base?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:40PM
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You can prune now. We have had some rather cold weather as well and even some snow on Friday. Cold will not hurt the vine at all.

You can wait a bit to fertilize. You might want to soak the alfalfa cubes in water and then water that into the base of the plant. You can do that anytime after pruning.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 2:04PM
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I see 2 sets of new leaves at nodes, from the ground up, Node 1 and Node 2. I'm planning (as soon as Passover is over) to cut the plant back to the higher of these 2 nodes. I hope that is enough of hard pruning.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 9:26PM
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Sounds good!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:12PM
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