Should you deadhead clematis? Key dates for pruning clematis based on flowering time

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Clematis are gorgeous plants, with a variant for any garden. From climbers to herbaceous types for borders you can find a clematis for any space. These pretty flowers are easy to grow and with clever planting and care can flower throughout the year.

Clematis prefer warm, moist soil and so the best time to plant is in spring or early to mid-autumn.

While it’s not the end of the world to plant clematis at other times, try an avoid waterlogged soil, soil which is too dry or frozen ground.

Clematis prefers sunlight and can tolerate partial shade, however, avoid fully shaded areas as you won’t yield as many flowers.

Some types prefer a patch in full sunlight, while others will need a sheltered area so make sure you check the type of plant you have.

Read More: Should you deadhead lupins? 10 plants you should deadhead this year

Should you deadhead clematis?

Deadheading flowers may seem daunting, but ensures new growth for the year to come.

You can definitely deadhead clematis, especially first blooms.

In fact, when deadheading your clematis you can remove as much as 12 to 18 inches (31-46 cm) of stem.

Doing this can help give the plant new life and ensure the growth of new flowers.

So when should you prune your clematis?

There are some key dates to bear in mind when considering pruning your clematis, and these depend on when your flowers have bloomed.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) says there are three groups when it comes to pruning.

These are:

Pruning Group 1: Prune mid-to-late spring, after flowering and once the risk of frost has passed

Pruning Group 2: Prune in February and after the first flush of flowers in early summer

Pruning Group 3: Prune in February

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So which flowers belong to which group?

Pruning Group 1

In this group are the clematis which have blossomed early, on shoots produced the previous season.

RHS writes: “They require no regular pruning except for the removal of faded flowers. In subsequent years some training and perhaps thinning may be necessary.

“If renovation is required, plants can be cut back to 15cm (6in) from the base, after flowering.

“This operation will affect flowering and should not be carried out again within three years.”

Pruning Group 2

The second pruning group includes large flowered plants which bloom from May to June.

These clematis bloom “on short shoots developing from the previous year’s growth. Some flower again in late summer on new growth.”

The RHS explains: “They require only to have the flowers cut off, back to a large growth bud immediately below the flower as soon as flowering is over.

“They can, if preferred, be left unpruned other than for the removal of dead shoot ends in spring.”

Pruning Group 3

And pruning group three includes clematis which flower from mid-to-late summer “on the terminal 60cm (2ft) or so of the current year’s growth.”

The RHS explains: “If this type is left unpruned growth will continue from where it ended the previous season, resulting in a tangled mass of growth, flowering often well above eye level and stems bare at the base.

“These late-flowering clematis are best pruned back hard in February each year to the lowest pair of buds.”

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