Pruning clematis vines

Asked July 15, 2020, 12:51 PM EDT

I know about the 3, or is it 4, clematis groupings for pruning. My question is not about that. My question is - due to lots of water last fall, this spring and my fertilizing, my clematis vine has grown beautifully and has grown beyond the top of my trellis. It is blooming now and is a beautiful crowded mass of solid flowers at the very top and hanging over, with about 4 to 5 feet of green vine below. That is not the look i want. Would it have been okay for me, as it was growing so tall, to cut that growth back? I don't mean that I would wait until I saw how tall it was going to get and then chop it off. I would start pruning it back gradually as I see it looking like it would be growing really tall. That type of pruning would probably encourage it to put up more stems from the base of the plant. Or would that result in no blossoms now? I bought it with the tag missing, but I think it is the Jackmanii variety. Just wondering - hope you can shed some light on this. Or maybe next year I can cut it back and experiment to see if it will still bloom. Thank you for any help you can give me. Bonnie

Barnes County North Dakota

1 Response

Thank you for contacting us regarding pruning your clematis.
Remove dead or damaged vines at any time.
You are correct there are three groups of clematis, spring, summer or fall blooming. When to prune depends on the group.
It sounds like you have either a summer or fall blooming clematis.
Both summer and fall blooming clematis should be pruned in early spring.
For summer bloomers, in early spring prune back to the strongest buds and remove any dead or damaged vines. With rebloomers you can prune again, about half-way down the stem after the first heavy blooming is complete.
Fall bloomers tend to die back to the ground and bloom on new growth. In early spring, prune back to about 24-30 inches from the ground
Spring bloomers developed from last years growing season so should be pruned immediately after blooming to enable blooms for next year. Prune sparingly; only enough to keep the plant tidy.
Best wishes.