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Outdoor Plants, Spring

Planting and Growing Clematis

May 16, 2023

clematis amethyst beauty

Clematis are deciduous vines that are ideal for patios and small spaces as they provide an excellent vertical plant solution. Clematis is a well-loved garden classic that is available in various colours and has blooms that vary from tubular, star-like, flat open discs, or nodding bells.


Clematis are easy to grow and, given the proper support, will climb by twining slender stems (petioles) around trellises, walls, fences, pergolas, arbours, obelisks, or poles. They can also be trained to grow on trees, conifers, shrubs, or with climbing roses. Their flowers will attract butterflies and bees and are well loved by pollinators.


Clematis are sun-loving plants classified into three groups.

  • Group 1 – are early bloomers with flowers that appear in the spring. They do not require pruning but can be quite vigorous and trimmed back after the first flowering.

    Examples include:
    Clematis Alpina Frances Rivis, Clematis Alpina Constance, Clematis Pamela Jackman, Clematis Montana Rubens, Clematis Montana ‘Fragrant Spring’
  • Group 2 – bloom on previous years’ growth in late spring through to summer.

    Examples include:
    Clematis Dr Ruppel, Clematis Guernsey Cream, Clematis President, Clematis Mrs. N. Thompson
  • Group 3 – late blooming plants that will rebloom throughout the season. They must be cut back in early spring to prevent them from getting too unruly.

    Examples include:
    Clematis Jackmanii Super bar, Clematis Rough Cardinal, Clematis Polish Sprit, Clematis Terniflora


Read the plant properties and bloom times when purchasing your Clematis. If you need to know which type of existing Clematis you have in your garden, bring a flower or plant tag to your local Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre. Our knowledgeable staff will happily advise on the variety and pruning requirements.




Clematis will perform best when planted in the spring in cool soil after the final frost, but if purchased after this timeframe, can be planted up until the first frost.


Clematis prefer their roots in the shade, and their blooms in the sun with at least 6 hours of sun per day. Planting this way will help promote an abundance of flowers. Provide shade at the roots with gravel, mulch, or plant behind a low perennial or shrub to ensure roots remain cool.


They are thirsty plants that will thrive if given plenty of water once per week instead of several short waterings. Monitor during particularly hot periods during the summer months. Pale-coloured flowers can bleach in the intense afternoon sun, so you may want to plant in partial shade.



  • Prefers rich, well-drained soil. Enrich your soil by adding manure or compost to Parkwood® 3 in 1 in the planting hole.
  • Clematis grows best in loamy, moist, well-draining soils and will thrive in alkaline soil with a pH value of more than 7.
  • If the soil is heavy clay, amend it before planting with coarse builder’s sand and plenty of manure or compost.
  • For sandy soil, add as much organic matter as possible.
  • If the soil is highly acidic, add lime during planting and each spring.

Do you need help with your soil type? Test the pH with a soil test kit available at any Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre.

  • Immerse the container in a bucket of water for an hour before planting.
  • Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the pot.
  • Add 10 cm (4″) of manure or compost to the bottom of the hole, then Parkwood® 3 in 1 Planting Mix.
  • Very gently remove the Clematis and its support from the container. Avoid rushing the process, as stems can break easily.
  • Loosen the roots and place the root ball in the prepared hole with the crown (the spot where the stem meets the roots) 2.5-5 cm (1-2″) below the soil level to allow new buds to emerge from below the ground if the vine is seriously damaged.
  • Fill the sides of the planting hole with Parkwood® 3 in 1 Planting Mix—Dilute Parkwood® Transplanter as indicated on the package directions and water in the well.
  • If using a climbing structure, place it into position for plant to attach as it grows.
  • Once established, feed Clematis with water-soluble Fafard Natural Annual/Perennial 6-3-6 or Parkwood® All Purpose 20-20-20.




  • Fertilize Clematis until the flower buds are just about to open, then stop feeding. Ceasing fertilizing will prevent the buds from opening too quickly and prolong the flowering period.
  • When the flowers have finished blooming, you can start fertilizing again with Parkwood® Garden All 4-12-8 to invigorate the plant and encourage another flush of flowers, especially in the repeat flowering cultivars.
  • Eliminate feeding and reduce watering by September.
  • Powdery mildew – is a common fungal disease that can sometimes affect Clematis. Watering in the morning is an excellent way to help prevent this. If it still appears, spray with garden sulphur.
  • Clematis Wilt – is a disease that travels rapidly and is often fatal. Symptoms include sudden wilting and collapse of previously healthy stems. The wilted stems turn black; unfortunately, once this happens, this cannot be reversed. You can cut back well below the level of infection or right to ground level. Remove the infected material immediately, and do not compost it. Disinfect your pruners after cutting.


Sheridan is proud to offer a broad selection of Clematis varieties. If you have questions about planting or caring for Clematis, please visit any of our garden centre locations to speak with one of our plant care experts.