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Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 17, 09 at 9:43

Hi clematis forum
I'm new to the clematis forum. I planted this Clematis last June and it's come back seemingly well this spring although seemingly late.
The last 5 days has seen a growth spurt of about 3 feet on one sturdy stem. There are no signs of branching that I can see at this point.
Question: Should I pinch off the tip?
I'm going to try to post the photo here with hopes it works.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

Yes, pinch it right above the leaf node. I would even cut it back to the lowest pair of leaves. It is still not too late to do so. Two new shoots will grow from the node. Pinch them too. Stop pinching about two months before the first frost. You might not see the blooms this year, but you will help the plant to get established and to get a bushier shape.

Next spring cut the plant back to the first bud union.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

I would cut it back and then start pinching.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 17, 09 at 12:15

alina- Thanks for taking time to address my question. I was hoping to see lots of height in this clematis this year as I'm trying to cover/decorate one side of a pass through arbor. Maybe I'm expecting too much in one season but that's why I was hesitant in pinching or cutting back because I wanted the 'height' and of course ... the flowers too!
buyorsell888- Thanks also for your advice.

Between the 2 of you it seems that cutting back is what to do. When new shoots develop I can start pinching those.

When you say ... "cut it back" to what degree do you mean? The stem in the photo is the only stem(shoot) right now and it's about 3 feet tall.

It's kinda scary cutting it ... or is it just me.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

It might be scary, but you will get much better result in the long run by doing this. Otherwise, your Clemmie will be a leggy one vine pityful plant for next few years.

You should cut it back about 1" above the first leaf node. By doing this you will stimulate roots. Roots are much more important for a young Clematis than the top growth. I would also fertilize it (Rose or Tomato fertilizers work fine). Or, just side dress it with compost.

Good luck!


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RE: Pinch tip or not

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 17, 09 at 12:39

alina- thanks again. You're helping to take the 'scary' out of 'cutting back'!! lol
I just happened to be fertilizing my tomatoes today so I already have some ready to go. Huh. Must be fate!!
Off we go to snip off about 2 feet of new growth. (((GULP)))


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RE:rooting the cutting

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 17, 09 at 12:49

Can I root the cutting or would it be a waste of time?
I'd use rooting hormone.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

It wouldn't hurt to try and root it. I got two more Polish Spirits that way. I found that I had to keep the cuttings in a humid environment.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 26, 09 at 8:41

I'm happy to report that new shoots are beginning to develop from between the lowest leaves & the main stem. That's about 12 inches from the ground.
I will cut back the developing shoots when they are longer in the same fashion as suggested.
Will this be a procedure that will be done every year starting from the ground up?
At the end of this growing season will all this growth be cut down again? I believe this clematis is a type 3.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

You can pinch them now, you don't have to wait until they are three feet long and then cut them back.

No, you won't have to pinch every year but you do need to hard prune every year as Type IIIs bloom on new growth.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 26, 09 at 9:40

buyorsell888-thanks for the response I appreciate your help


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

What is the type stuff? I just purchased one multi-blue (double) But I hadnt heard of types. I how do I find out about the type and its needs


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

FYI starting your own thread is a good idea when your question is off topic.

Types are pruning categories. Multi-Blue is a Type II/B but should be treated like a Type III/C for the first couple of years to get it off to a good start.

Here is a link that might be useful: pruning explained


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

I have a beautiful clematis that gets huge every spring, big periwinkle colored flowers and lots of them too. It has a very short blooming cycle. If I cut it back, will it grow again and produce flowers?


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 5, 09 at 11:23

Okay folks. It's me again.
The new shoots now have a set of leaves each and growing tips that are 'pinchable'.
I know that if I pinch these there is little doubt they will again sprout new side shoots.
My concerns are: When do you stop this process in order to not jeopardize having blossoms/flowers? I could pinch till the cows come home in reality, right.
Secondly: It is my understanding that at the end of the growing season I am supposed to cut this all back to ground level. (type 3) If I do this I will in effect be cutting off everything I have just worked at building! I would start this entire process over from bottom up every spring? Am I grasping this correctly or not.

Sorry for what might be such dumb questions to some but I just want to be doing this the right way ... and I respect your time and expertise.
Thanks so much.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

Cindy, you should start your own thread. The answer depends on what Clematis it is. Some will, some won't.

Kanuk, First year I would not worry about flowers and would keep pinching. Yes, you cut it all off but....the pinching also encourages more root growth and more vines coming up from the crown as it slows down vertical growth.

In future years stop pinching when you've got a nice framework of vines. You won't be able to pinch enough to stop the buds forming when the plant is more established. There will be too many vines and shoots to keep up with. You will always have more flowers if you pinch in spring.


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

  • Posted by kanuk Zone5 QC (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 5, 09 at 17:16

buyorsell888-now I have a much bette grasp as to the reasoning behind all this 'pinching'. I wasn't sure if it would ever be enough but I understand now what the purpose is behind it all.
Of course I've read other sites that suggest pinching for various types etc. but I've never had it explained as to 'why' ...

... I cannot tell you what an immense help you've been.
Forever Grateful.... kanuk


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RE: Blue Angel: Pinch tip or not

You are welcome.


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