Should I move a flowering clematis or wait?

Asked May 20, 2017, 11:26 PM EDT

We planted a clematis last fall against a shed wall behind a very small peonies plant that was showing little sign of growth. Well, this spring the peonies broke their tradition and jumped up with many beautiful blooms. Meanwhile, the clematis has been literally over shadowed as the peonies took over the space that had once seemed more than adequate for both plants. I want to move the clematis but hesitate as it is in bloom, but seems to be suffering. Should I act now or wait until the clematis blooms are spent? Thanks, Jim O'Neill

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

That is a classic mistake all of us gardeners make. Perennials especially are notorious for 'sleeping' the first year, 'creeping' the second, and 'leaping' the third.
That said, think about this:
Clematis are vining plants, that take up little ground space. In fact, the general rule of thumb is that they like their 'feet' in the shade, and their flowers in the sun.
What type of clematis is it? Most can get pretty tall and need a trellis, structure or twine to climb on, as their flowers show off best in a vertical growth habit.
Think you could still grow it there?
If not, you can still move it. It's up to you if you want to wait and enjoy the flowers first. Just be sure to amend your new planting hole with compost, Leaf-Gro, manure or other organic amendments, in a sunny spot (for the flowers), and decent drainage. A 2" layer of mulch (not touching the trunk/stems) will help keep it cool and moist, but keep an eye on it and water gently if we don't get rain this season.