Do I need to prune, to force climbing?

gandj(6)April 7, 2013

Hello all, hoping to get some help...
A few years ago we planted athe Clematis in the picture. Last year it grew into a bush ( kinda). After the pic was taken we got about 3-4 vines climbing up the fence. It`s still dormant, and I'm wondering if I should thin out some of the stems to just leave those that are up against the fence? Or, is the plant simply young (I heard Clematis takes 3-4 years before taking off)? It's a nice plant, just wish it would climb more...
Thank you

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gardengal48

Clematis will vine and climb naturally, provided they are indeed the vining type (not all clems are). All they need is some sort of support system, which a chainlink fence provides very nicely.

I wouldn't thin out the stems - you want as many stems emerging from the root crown as possible - but I would prune the vine rather hard, down to the second set of buds or at the leaf nodes (where buds will form). Hard pruning of any clematis should be done their first couple of seasons in the ground to encourage good root system development and to produce multiple stems. And as with most plants, pruning does encourage growth as well. Now is a fine time to do so.

And yes, it does take about three years, often a bit more, for a clematis vine to fully mature and come into its own.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:12PM
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gandj(6)

Thanks gardengal. I won't prune it now. It's doing well, and we do get a lot of blooms. Adding a pic to show how I pruned it last year...
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 1:38PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

One thought: there are a few quite short new clematis. For instance Clematis Cezanne is supposed to only reach 3 feet or so. Do you know what variety yours is?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:39PM
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gandj(6)

No clue on the variety nhbabs. Lost the tag. Our oldest daughter gave it to mom for mother's day. I'm assuming it's a common variety (whatever that means)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:33PM
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gandj(6)

No clue on the variety nhbabs. Lost the tag. Our oldest daughter gave it to mom for mother's day. I'm assuming it's a common variety (whatever that means)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 8:53PM
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gigim(8A SC)

I have 2 Clematis vines that I planted last spring/summer. I kept them under 18 inches all season. Now I have 2 tiny vines coming from the ground with foliage starting about 12" off the gound and reaching up to about 2' with stems spreading onto trellis. Still pretty puny but happy with some flower buds forming. Should I keep pruning to keep to 18" this whole season to promote that all important root growth or is there a different plan I should follow for this season. I am afraid I do not have the variety info here at work with me but I think one is a group 2 and the other a group 3. Also, how to "shade" the roots without having competition for water and nutrients? It is about 18 inches away from a rose that will provide some shade once it grows a bit taller (was overpruned by an over-zealist husband). Thank you for any and all advice!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 2:49PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Now is the best time to prune, it is actually late. There is no reason to keep at 18" for an entire season. Prune them to that height and then let them grow.

You do not need to shade the roots. They do not like competition in the root area. Just keep moist and well nourished.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 5:59PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Gandj, there are quite a few Clematis of that color.

IF it is Cezanne it is never going to climb that fence....I have seen Cezanne marketed as a Mother's Day gift plant rather than in a black nursery pot...

A close up of a flower would help identification.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 6:01PM
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gandj(6)

Buyorsell,
Here's a pic. I'd appreciate any help in ID! The plant grows like this:
Forms a bush then blooms mid-may. Blooms are incredible, btw!
Takes a breather, then 3-4 vines will start climbing.
It gets to the top of the fence. It's definitely a climber (from the way it "grabs" the fence)?
It gets full sun all day. I mulch heavy around the bottom. Had it under-planted with mondo grass, but that got old real quick...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:43PM
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