Caring for the Clematis

The queen of climbers?

It's the Clematis's strong growth and profusion of flowers that earn it the nickname 'queen of climbers'. And we agree. Wisteria gets called the same thing because of its magnificent display of blue flowers. We think that both of these climbers deserve the flattering moniker of 'queen'. What do you think? Share your opinion on our Facebook page.

Clematis plants produce stunning flowers, are easy to grow, and make a real eye-catcher when they are in full flower in your garden! The name Clematis comes directly from the Greek word for 'climbing plant'. Clematis plants are great for planting in large containers on your patio or balcony or for cloaking a pergola in a dazzling mantle of flowers. You can even start off by enjoying this flowering plant in your living room or conservatory. For more ideas, take a look at our inspiration page.

Clematis plants can easily grow to a height of 3 metres. More than 250 species of Clematis have already been discovered. We have divided our Nolina varieties into three collections: Evergreen, Boulevard and Garland. A Clematis is a real low-maintenance plant. Read about the best way to care for your Clematis here.

Caring for Clematis

All it takes is some simple care to turn your garden into a castle garden that's fit for a king.

Here are some tips to help you plant and care for your Clematis.

Planting | where, when and how

Your Clematis can be planted directly in the soil at any time of year or grown in large pots or containers on your patio. Whether in the garden or on the balcony, give your Clematis a place in the sun or partial shade. Make sure that neither the top of the root ball nor the lower part of the plant is exposed to direct sunlight. The top of the root ball can be shaded by the leaves of a nearby plant, a pot or a decorative garden item. The Clematis has tendrils that help it climb up trees, fences and walls. If there are no natural supports for it to twine around, the Clematis will need something to attach itself to such as vertical wooden slats or wires.

Step-by-step plan

  1. Choose an appropriate spot where the Clematis will be in the sun but where the top of its root ball is shaded, and provide the right kind of climbing support.
  2. Dig a wide, deep hole, line the bottom with a layer of pebbles and then add a layer of compost. The pebbles will prevent water from accumulating in heavy clay or loamy soil, which could otherwise become saturated and cause the roots to rot.
  3. Place the Clematis in the hole, making sure that the root ball remains as intact as possible.
  4. Fill up the hole with soil (or soil mixed with compost). Adding compost will loosen up the soil and help the plant become established faster.
  5. Shake the Clematis carefully back and forth and then tamp down the soil firmly.
  6. Train the lateral stems horizontally against the climbing support.
  7. Water your Clematis regularly in the first month after planting, and make sure the root ball doesn't dry out later on as well.

Feeding and diseases

Clematis needs extra food during the growing period. You can start applying fertiliser from March onwards. A universal fertiliser such as granulated dried cow manure is perfect and also improves the soil structure. The plant doesn't need feeding during the flowering period.

Fortunately, Clematis is affected by very few pests and diseases, although like other plants they can attract aphids, whitefly, red spider mite and mildew. These problems are easy to prevent or control. We recommend asking the nursery where you bought the plant for advice. You can also put your questions to our specialist via Facebook.

Pruning and flowering

Pruning a Clematis is not difficult but it is harder to identify when to do it as it depends on the variety or cultivar. Always read the label that came with the plant, which will tell you when to prune and by how much. If you don't prune your Clematis, it will develop a huge tangle of bare branches over the years and the flowers will be produced higher and higher up the plant. So it's important to prune your Clematis regularly to keep it looking fresh and leafy.

If you prune it at the wrong time of year, your Clematis may not produce any flowers in the next flowering period, or any flowers it does produce will be much smaller than you are used to seeing. The Clematis will flower again as usual the following year.

Not flowering?

There are three reasons why your Clematis won't flower or only puts on a poor show.

  1. The plant is not yet mature enough to flower.
  2. There is an imbalance of nutrients (an organic feed is the best solution for this).
  3. You didn't prune it at the right time.

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