UACES Facebook Clematis

Clematis

September  2016

Question

There is a volunteer vine in my yard which began blooming about a week ago.  It has small fragrant white flowers and it produces a prolific vine.  The leaves are somewhat heart shaped, with a little silver color along the veins.  I thought it must be a weed until it started blooming.  What is it and is it desirable?   If not, what should I use to kill it?

Sweet autumn Clematis Vine           Sweet autumn clematis

Answer

The plant in question is the sweet autumn clematis, Clematis maximowicziana.  It is fairly common throughout the state and is planted for its fall flowers and sweet scent.  It can be somewhat invasive, so learn to recognize the seedlings in the spring, and contain it where it you want it.  It is very easy to maintain, seeming to thrive on neglect.  It will bloom well in sun or partial shade, and has no pests that I know of.  It makes a beautiful display in late summer through early fall, but it can get a little too happy!  


 September 3, 2016

Question

Can you identify this vine for me?  It came with the house I just bought and it is not real attractive. It is near the front entry. 

Clematis Vine

Answer

The plant in question is a clematis.  The fluffy things are the seed pods, which I enjoy almost as much as the flowers.  Your clematis does look a bit bedraggled, but it is a deciduous vine and will shed its leaves in the fall.  Since there are seed pods now and a couple of blooms, you may actually have one of the varieties that bloom twice a year.  If you want to shape it up you can prune it after it blooms in the spring. 


August 20, 2016

Question

My wife was talking about moving this clematis because it was only producing a few blooms for several years.  I read your article last November 21 and pruned it leaving three vines - one pruned almost to the ground, one knee-high and let one grow.  The attached picture of it was taken last May 16.  I couldn't believe all the blooms.  Thanks a million. I was going to prune it after blooming but when I finally found your article again dated November 21, 2015 I saw that I must have pruned it sometime after that date.  I haven't pruned it and was wondering now when to prune it.  Should I wait immediately after blooming next year or prune it now?  It finished blooming several weeks back. 

                         Clematis

Answer

There is no set rule for pruning all clematis plants at the same time.  Some varieties are spring only blooming plants, while others bloom all summer and some bloom only in the fall.  You need to know when yours blooms normally to know when to prune.  For spring bloomers, flower buds are set now and pruning would hurt spring blooms, so wait and prune immediately after bloom.  For summer bloomers, prune before new growth begins in late February to early March, and for fall bloomers, you can prune as needed until mid to late June.  I like to have three vines growing, with one I can prune almost to the ground, one knee-high, and one I let grow so I have a long tall vine with flowers throughout. Use caution when pruning since these are not flexible vines—they are quite brittle and can break easily. 


 July / Aug 2016

Question

What do you suggest doing with Clematis, after it has bloomed?  I have never done anything with mine in past years, but a friend says she trims hers back, and it will bloom again.   Do I just take off the poufy things where the flowers were?  

 

Answer

It all depends on what type of clematis you have, as to whether they will re-bloom.  If you have a spring-only bloomer, pruning after bloom if needed will help.  If yours blooms all summer, they should be pruned before growth begins.  There are other types that bloom in the spring, and repeat in the fall.  They can be pruned after the first bout of blooms, and will usually still bloom again.  If yours is a spring only bloomer, pruning won't help it re-bloom.  The poufy things are seed heads, and I think look attractive.  They can delay flowering if you have non-stop summer bloomers, but I don't think you have one if you have never seen any blooms. 


 November 21, 2015

Question

I have a clematis vine and I never know how or when to prune it.  Some years it blooms great and other years I get few blooms.  Tell me what to do.

 

Answer

There is no set rule for pruning all clematis plants at the same time.  Some varieties are spring only blooming plants, while others bloom all summer and some bloom only in the fall.  You need to know when yours blooms normally to know when to prune.  For spring bloomers, flower buds are set now and pruning would hurt spring blooms, so wait and prune immediately after bloom.  For summer bloomers, prune before new growth begins in late February to early March, and for fall bloomers, you can prune as needed until mid to late June.  I like to have three vines growing, with one I can prune almost to the ground, one knee-high, and one I let grow so I have a long tall vine with flowers throughout. Use caution when pruning since these are not flexible vines—they are quite brittle and can break easily. 


 September 2010

QuestionMy sweet autumn clematis grows on my patio fence and is a rapid grower as you know. This is its third year and it is not looking so good this year; lots of dead undergrowth showing. It's been a real showstopper two previous years but this year not so much. I think it needs help and I am having a hard time finding out how to care for it. The fence is 6-7 feet high and the vine has grown to the top and along the top at a corner. Everything I can find gives different formulas for when and how much to cut back, you are the final arbiter.

 AnswerSweet autumn clematis (Clematis terniflora) is a vigorous vine which blooms on the current season growth. Prune it as hard as you want to in late February through mid March. If yours has gotten woodier, it needs a severe haircut—removing at least half. It usually thrives on neglect and seems to bloom unimpeded in full sun to partial shade. It has lovely, fragrant white flowers in late summer, but freely reseeds itself and roots where it is allowed to ramble, so contain it.


August 2010

QuestionIn your column you mentioned a clematis that blooms all summer. What is the name of it and where can I get one?

 AnswerThe clematis family is quite large with many options. There are spring only bloomers which bloom on old wood from flowers set in the fall. Then there are varieties which produce flowers on the new growth and can bloom all summer, into fall. Probably the most common of these is the Jackman group or Clematis x jackmanii. Varieties include: ‘Comtesse de Bouchard’, ‘Alba’, and ‘Star of India’. Clematis viticella also bloom on new wood and include ‘Ernest Markham’, ‘Lady Betty Balfour’, and ‘Ville de Lyon’. Hybrids Nelly Moser’ and ‘Henryi’ can bloom on both the old wood in late spring and again on new wood in late summer, with the latter display not quite as large as the earlier blooms.


May 2010

QuestionWhat shrub would you recommend as a hedge in the Cammack Village area? I'd like to create a living screen to hide a shed & work area in the backyard. The shed sits at the back of the property which is fairly narrow & deep like a rectangle. What vine would you recommend to use for a small arbor which located just out the back door of the house on the same property?

 AnswerIs the area shaded where the hedge will be planted? If so here are some good choices: wax myrtle, illicium (Florida anise), cherry laurel and Sweet bay magnolia--this last one is not evergreen. In sunny conditions you can use Little Gem magnolia, one of the hollies- Foster, Yaupon, Lusterleaf, Nelly R. Stevens; or eleagnus. For the vine, you could use a mix: trumpet honeysuckle, clematis, akebia and some annual vines: moon flower morning-glory, cypress vine and hyacinth bean.


July 2010

QuestionI have an overgrown clematis vine. Do I cut the vine back at the end of the season?

 

AnswerIt depends on which clematis you are growing. If you have one that blooms all summer you prune before growth begins in the spring. If yours only blooms in the spring, you allow it to bloom and then prune in late spring, but pruning back in the fall shouldn't be a great option for either one. Then there is the sweet autumn clematis that blooms late summer through fall and it typically dies back during the winter.


May 2008

QuestionI am considering putting clematis in a bed which now has an empty trellis. I have never grown one before and have no idea which variety I should choose. Is there one type which grows better in Arkansas than others? Once established, how do I care for it? When does it need pruning, how much fertilizer, etc. I have been under the impression that they require quite a bit of care but perhaps I am mistaken on that notion.

 AnswerAs long as the soil is not heavy, and the drainage is good, I find clematis to be fairly easy to grow. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, and most perform well. What season do you want blooms? Some bloom only in the spring, while others bloom all summer and then there are those that only bloom in the fall. There is also an evergreen form called Armand Clematis. Probably the most popular group is the Jackmanii group which blooms all summer on new growth. 'Henryi' and 'Nelly Moser' are C. lanuginosa types, and will bloom well in late spring and can bloom again in the fall. The sweet autumn clematis C. maximowicziana is a great fall bloomer, but can be a bit invasive over time. Pruning is based on season of bloom. They are not drought tolerant plants, so water as needed. Add a bit of lime to the planting soil and make sure it has ample drainage and some organic matter worked in. Clematis are heavy feeders, so fertilize with a complete fertilizer two to three times a year.


February 2010

QuestionIs there clematis that does not require full sun? Mine has been shadowed by a tree and is not blooming well.

 

AnswerThe large showy clematis do need full sun, but the fall blooming sweet autumn Clematis terniflora, with small white flowers blooms nicely in partial shade. Some native woodland clematis with smaller purple flowers also do well in the shade or woodland garden, but may not be as easy to find. Clematis pitcheri is one example.


May 2007

Question We have clematis about 15 years old that has very large blooms. The last few years the lower leaves start losing their color then turn brown from the outside edges. This problem gradually works it's way up the entire vine. It has started again this year. Does it need less/more water, fertilizer, or sprayed?

 AnswerSome of the large flowering clematis plants can suffer from a disease called clematis wilt, but I don’t think that is the problem here. Clematis wilt causes rapid wilting and death of the entire stem. It can cause the leaves to turn brown, but again it is not a slow moving process such as you are describing. Make sure the soil is well drained and for now cut off the damaged leaves. Have a soil test taken from around the plant. Clematis like a slightly alkaline soil with good air and soil drainage. Make sure the pH is in line and that there are not salt buildups in the soil. If the problem continues, take a sample to your county extension office and let them send it to the disease diagnostic clinic to try to isolate the problem.