News Column – On The Grow – Clematis Vines

Clematis - Courtesy
Clematis – Courtesy

CLEMATIS VINES – Clematis vines are hardy and sturdy once established yet their look is so graceful and delicate.  They come in many different colors that bloom at different times of the year.  Three things are required for successful vines laden with blooms from base to farthest end.  They need cool, moist root systems, 5 to 6 hours of sunlight on their leaves, and something to climb.

Clematis vines once established will give years of beautiful flowers.  To ensure this, dig a hole about 2 ft. deep and wide.  Add compost if soil is clay or too sandy.  Add lime if the soil is too acidic.  Place the crown of the plant so when finished it is two to three inches under the soil.

New clematis vines should be watered well but not overfed.  When they are established use 5-10-5, 5-10-10 or fertilizers made for roses and tomatoes.

Keep the roots cool and moist.  Mulch can be used but do not put it against the stems of the plant.  A rock works to keep the sun off the roots or place another low plant at the base to shade the ground.

Stake the vine until it reaches its permanent location.  This could be a fence, a trellis, hedgerow or wall.  Staking will keep it safe from breakage.

Shade or filtered sunlight in the afternoon keeps the blooms from fading in our blistery sun.

Some clematis vines in this area bloom on new wood only and are the easiest to maintain.  Others bloom on new and old wood.  If your clematis is deciduous, discard the old wood in the spring and wait for the stems to emerge from the earth.  Some will bloom once a year and others will bloom twice a year.  Blooming times are spring or summer and fall.  Some only bloom in the fall.  If your vine does not go dormant, the first year in March cut the stems back to 5” from the ground. The next year cut back to 3 feet from the ground. Thereafter trim out the dead wood.

Clematis vines are easy to grow.  They are not overwhelming like other vines that grow to a heavy thickness. They are a delight to have in the flower garden.  Although elegant they take our hot summers with ease.  They have flowers that range from tiny to saucer size.  Most will fit in a small area in your garden.  Their colors range from white to the deepest purple.  Some are variegated and with different colors.  The flowers are all dainty and when the petals drop they leave a beautiful seed pod that is very pleasant to the eye.

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