One-year-old Clematis plant in a 10cm pot (left) with our three-year-old Clematis plant in a 20cm pot.
The Clematis you will receive from us are in 20cm pots and are three years old. They are grown from the small plant on the left. What you are buying is time and a bigger root system (It is the root system that is important and not the above-ground growth). One-year-old plants are still a good investment if you want to buy a few of them, but they will take two years to get to size. Please note that plants may be dormant when they are sent by post and will be pruned with leaves removed.
Clematis are long-lived plants and you can expect about 50 years lifespan if your Clematis is planted in a good position with good moisture, good drainage and good growing conditions. Growing good Clematis is not as hard as you might think. They like similar conditions to Roses, like the same fertilizer and most are pruned in a similar way.
I’m a beginner, where do I start?
It is easy to be scared off Clematis because you may have heard they are difficult to grow. The fact is that most are easy to grow, but there are some tricky specimens that even the experts have trouble with. The varieties we offer for sale are not hard to grow.
Planting– Since Clematis live up to 50 years or more, you should take the time to plant each one carefully. Select a position that has plenty of sunlight, is not too hot during summer and has good drainage. Clematis do not like to dry out, so make sure your soil can hold water. Adding compost during planting will help to hold water. If you know your site gets a bit wet during heavy rain, consider building up the soil level to keep the Clematis roots from sitting in water and drowning. Mulching or underplanting will keep the roots cool and help retain soil moisture.
Water the pot well before planting. Dig a hole at least twice as big as the pot and twice as deep. Mix some of the soil from the hole with compost if you wish to improve the water holding capacity of the root zone. The exact proportions will vary by your soil conditions. Backfill some of the hole with this mix. You may gently tease some of the roots away from the sides but be gentle.
Place the clematis on the backfill and look at the soil line of the plant and the ground. The clematis should be about five centimetres lower than the ground. This keeps the roots cooler and provides buds below ground if the vine should suffer a disease or infestation and you need to cut it back. Every clematis we sell has buds below the soil line, but we’d like you to plant deeply for extra protection. Fill the rest of the hole and over the top of the pot’s soil line with the mix you made earlier. Water in well to expell any air. Sometimes after watering, the settling soil can leave the roots exposed. Make sure these roots are covered with soil before you mulch. Mulching can be done with composted pine bark or other mulches, but you can also use stones. This is important because clematis need ample moisture to grow their best and mulch can help the soil retain moisture.
Watering- Be sure to go back and water new plantings regularly during the first growing season. This will help them get off to a great start! Most clematis will establish very quickly and flower within a year of planting. Others take a little longer, but they’re worth the wait!
Feeding- Clematis like their food and respond well to regular feeding. We recommend using anything suitable for roses applied first thing in spring, again in early summer and also early autumn.
Things to look out for- The most common reasons for Clematis not performing are wet feet, too dry and no food. This is especially evident in newly planted Clematis and can be corrected quickly once the reason is recognised. Slugs and snails can also be a nuisance, especially in spring.