June transplanting clematis?

Liliy01June 4, 2011

I know you are supposed to transplant a clematis in the early spring. But, I didn't get around to it. It is June, can I move the clematis now or do I have to wait? I doubt it matters, but I will only be moving it about 2 feet.

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gardengal48

I'll make it real simple.....I wouldn't :-) Not unless you absolutely have to and even then I think you are at great risk of losing the plant. And FWIW, fall is an excellent time for transplanting - root growth is very active in the fall and it will re-establish rapidly and it is less likely to disrupt the bloom season (as a spring transplant might). And there is usually lots of natural rainfall to keep the vine hydrated.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 10:36PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Zones can be so different regarding heat and rainfall and humidity. Here in Z:4 MN I have moved clematis anytime from spring into the fall and have never had any that haven't continued to grow and do well.

Cutting the vine back will help with root establishment in the new area but I don't always cut the vine back if it has buds and want to see it bloom.

I suggest you experiment and see what works in your zone. But if you can't take a chance that your plant won't survive then wait and move it when it cools down this fall. For me, clematis are tough plants, not fragile.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 12:28AM
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janetpetiole(4b)

I too move clematis throughout the growing season, but sometimes I shade the plant to keep it from drooping in the scorching heat during summer. I have not seen any advantage of moving them in fall in my zone. I have found the best time to move them is in early spring as soon as the ground thaws.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2011 at 8:53PM
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gardengal48

Because one can doesn't mean one should :-))

It is never a good idea to transplant something in the midst of its primary growing season......it just stresses the plant unnecessarily, especially something that has a rather fussy root system, like clematis.

There are all sorts of reasons that influence the timing of these things that we often don't have a lot of control over but if there is not a very pressing reason to move now, I would wait. And as with any woody plant, planting or transplanting clematis in early fall after the top growth has halted for the season is very desirable. Root growth and elongation is at a higher level at this time of year and planting/transplanting at then gives the plant a headstart over late winter or early spring planting - they just re-establish much more rapidly.

I'm just outlining the accepted horticultural recommendations........it's your vine - you can do what you want.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 8:11AM
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janetpetiole(4b)

gardengal, My clematis keep growing and blooming until the first hard frost/freeze. For my area, that can be any time between the end of September to about the middle of October, but it happens earlier or later some years. By that time, the night temps are already low, the soil gets too cold, so the roots don't do much growing after that. I know because I planted 4 clematis in fall one year (to hold them over until spring) then dug them up in spring as soon as the ground thawed. The roots showed little to no new growth.

It has been suggested that our fall season begins in the middle of August, which I can believe because the maple leaves are already starting to turn color, some years it's early August. The problem is, at that time of year, the ground is usually bone dry because most years it rarely rains in July and August. Plus it can still be hot during the day throughout August. By the time the day temps cool, the nights are already getting colder. The opportune window to transplant sometimes is so short you miss it.

Just a little anecdotal info... the 2 clematis I moved from a holding area into their new spots a couple of weeks ago were cut back, and started growing almost right away; no typical lag. One has buds, the other is growing like crazy.

Another.... I moved 3 group 2's last spring that weren't doing well in their location. I figured if they didn't do better this year, I'd get rid of them. All 3 are growing like crazy.

What I'm trying to say is that zone 4 is so different than zone 8. The original poster needs to find out what works in her location. I know, for example, the best time to move evergreens in our area is in fall and until the ground freezes. All the landscaper tuck away the deciduous shrubs and perennials to make room for the evergreens. It's not just me and msgal from Minnesota, it's our nursery owners and landscapers.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 11:04PM
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