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How to prune Clematis

Not knowing how to prune clematis is one of the major factors that puts people off growing this beautiful flower in their gardens. However, there is no need to worry, it's actually surprisingly easy when you know what to do.

From finding out your clematis' pruning group to the time of year that you should prune it, read on to find out how to prune clematis.

Clematis make eye-catching additions to the garden. Perfect for climbing up trellis or obelisks they add height, as well as gorgeous scented blooms and colourful flowers and foliage. Clematis are also a key plant in creating an English garden scheme.

If you have a clematis in your garden, or are considering adding one to your space, knowing how to prune clematis is essential to keep it looking its best.

How to prune clematis: finding out the type

The first step to learning how to prune clematis is figuring out your clematis plant's pruning group. The three types of clematis pruning groups are as follows:

Group 1 - early flowering clematis that bloom in winter and which flower on last year’s growth.

Group 2 - large-flowering hybrids that bloom in late spring or early summer.

Group 3 - late flowering clematis that flower on this year's growth.

Depending on the type of clematis that you have, will affect how to prune clematis. The group of your clematis will be listed on its label, or if you know its name you can find out online. If you don't know the name, then take note of when it flowers and whether the blooms are on this year's or last year's growth. This should help inform you as to which the type of clematis you have.

A step-by-step guide for how to prune clematis

The time and severity with which you will prune your clematis will depend on its classification or group, however, the method for pruning your clematis will remain the same.

Remove dead, damaged or weak stems with a pair of secateurs before growth begins,this will usually be in February, though damaged stems can be removed at any time of year. However, leave the rest of the plant untouched.

If your clematis is flowering in February, then combine the above step with the following steps once the clematis has finished flowering.

It is then important that you wait until the plant has finished flowering before commencing with more vigorous pruning. If you prune before then, you will likely remove this year's flowering buds.

If pruning Group 1 or 2, then cut each branch back either to the growth bud or to a healthy pair of leaves.

If pruning group 3, then make straight cuts to the stems about 1ft from the ground.

How to prune clematis: Group 1

Sometimes referred to as 'early spring' clematis, group 1 clematis are the easiest to care for as they don't need regular pruning.

'Early spring Clematis montana can be cut back after flowering if required. You only need to prune group 1 clematis if it is too tall or its crowding out an area.

Examples of Group 1 clematis:<