How to Care for Clematis

If you're an avid gardener, you may know that clematis plants are considered to be one of the prettiest and most popular flowering vines featured in a garden. The plants can have woody vines or be very lush and have many herbaceous and evergreen varieties. If you'd like to grow a clematis plant in your garden or need to know how to care for one, it's important to understand that there are many species with different flowering forms, colors and blooming seasons. If grown correctly, they'll be a beautiful addition to your garden or patio, but they need to be looked after and treated with care.

Blooming clematis in the garden
credit: Mindstyle/iStock/GettyImages
How to Care for Clematis

What is Clematis?

Clematis is a group of ornamental vines that generally grow on a vertical plane. Some of the traditional forms of clematis included Jackmanii, General Sikorski, Henryi and Comtesse de Bouchaud. Until recently, clematis was not readily available in the United States, but now they're considered to be a favorite type of plant. If you want to grow clematis in your garden, you have to consider a variety of things. You'll want to know the mature height of the clematis, the flower form and the color. If you have room, some clematis vines can grow 10- or 20-foot vines. If you don't have space, you can get a smaller version that will thrive in a small garden or a pot on the patio.

Standard Size of a Clematis

The usual flower size of clematis is a large blossom with about six to seven petals. The blossom will measure approximately 6 inches across. The clematis can also cultivate smaller blossoms, double blossoms and bell-like flowers. It comes in a variety of colors ranging from white to a wine-red shade, lavender to deep purple and even yellow.

How Long Does it Take for Clematis to Grow?

If you're looking for a fast-growing plant, you should know that it will take a couple of years for the clematis vine to fully mature. This includes the flowers. If you want to cut down on the time it takes for the clematis vine to fully mature, you need to buy a clematis that's at least two years old. When you purchase the plant, it should be robust because that shows that the plant is growing strong.

How to Grow a Clematis

Clematis roots and vines are very fragile, and they won't recover well if roughly treated. If you're starting out with a young clematis that you want to plant in the ground, you need to carefully remove it from the nursery pot and dig a hole double the size of the root ball. Make sure that you don't dig the hole any deeper than two feet. If growing clematis in a container, you'll want to use a quart- or gallon-size pot. The plant doesn't like to be too dry or too wet, so you'll want to make sure that it gets just the right amount of water.

Feed the plant at the beginning of the season, as soon as the ground thaws, with a standard fertilizer. The plant will sometimes get scraggly stems, so make sure to prune them. The clematis blooms at different times, so make sure to read the label and prune the clematis properly. Clematis vines prefer locations where they can get about six hours of sun. When they're first planted, they need something to support them, so you can use a pole for smaller growing clematis vines or arbors for larger vines.


Allanah Dykes

Allanah Dykes is a freelance writer and her work has been featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, Popsugar, Complex, Gurl, The Kitchn, HelloGiggles, Revelist, and Food 52.