Clematis Pruning Techniques
There are 3 basic pruning techniques for various families or types of clematis vines. Look for your variety of clematis in each pruning group below and then follow instructions for pruning.
Note: If you are not sure what type of clematis you have take a photo of the flower to your local nursery and garden center for identification.
Pruning Clematis in Group 1
Clematis in group 1: Clematis alpina, Clematis armandii, Clematis x cartmanii, Clematis chrysocoma, Clematis cirrhosa, Clematis gracilifolia, Clematis indivisa, Clematis koreana, Clematis macropetala, Clematis montana, Pruinina, RoseO'Grady, White Swan
Pruning Instructions: Clematis in pruning group 1 flower on last year's wood and therefore should not be cut down to near ground level (especially montanas, armandii, chrysocoma and gracilifolia which can be killed by hard pruning). They should be pruned as soon as possible after they finish flowering. Avoid pruning them after the end of July, so they have time to produce next year's flower buds before winter sets in. This group should be lightly pruned to remove all dead and wispy growth. Additional pruning can be performed to remove three or four year old wood to reduce the bulk of the plant. Cut each stem just above a pair of healthy buds.
Pruning Clematis in Group 2
Clematis in group 2: Andromeda, Haku-okan, Multi Blue, Arctic Queen, H.E.Young, Myogo, Asao, Henryi, Nelly Moser, Barbara Dibley, Horn of Plenty, Niobe, Jackmanii, Josephine, Beauty of Richmond, Pink Fantasy, Beauty of Worcester, James Mason, Bee's Jubilee, John Paul II, Protteus, Burma Star, Kathleen Wheller, Rouge Cardinal, Royal Velvet, Royalty, Carnaby, Lady Caroline Nevell, Ruby Glow, Carnival Queen, Lady Londesborough, Charissma, Lady Norhcliffe, Sealand Gem, Corona, Serenata, Countess of Lovelace, Liberation, Silver Moon, Crimson King, Lincoln Star, Snow Queen, Daniel Doronda, Lord Nevill, Sugar Candy, Dawn, Louise Rowe, Sunset, Dr. Ruppel, Marcel Moser, Sylvia Denny, Duchess Of Edinburgh, Marie Boisselot, The President, Duchess Of Sutherland, Masquerade, The Vagabond, Will Goodwin
Pruning Instructions: Clematis Group 2 consists all the early large-flowered hybrid clematis that bloom in late sping or early summer and maybe again in late summer. Clematis in Group 2 should be pruned lightly in late winter or early spring. Pruning consists of removing weak and crossing shoots then thinning down the plant to a structure of evenly spaced one and two year old stems. Cut each stem just above a pair of healthy buds. Plants in this group have the tendency to become bare at the base as they mature. You can underplant with small shrubs or perennials to help conceal the bare stems. Alternatively, you can often force a flush of new growth from the base by cutting the vine back to 18 inches immediately after the flush of bloom in June.
An alternate method of pruning Group 2 clematis is to prune only every three or four years. In this case, the clematis should be pruned as described for Group 3 clematis. This will produce a weak first flush of flowers in the summer after pruning.
See how to prune Clenatis in Group 3 on next page.