Opinions on pruning group 2 clematis

Beverly Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

I have been reading an article from Wayside Gardens regarding pruning clems. Here is a link to the article.


I have not read this method before. I have a Dr. Ruppel and a Nellie Moser that are 2 years old. I did not cut them down to 5" as stated in the article when they were a year old. Now I'm wondering if I should trim them back to 3' this winter, as the article suggests. I would lose a lot of the blooms on the old wood. I have been giving them a handful of composted manure and a tablespoon of epsom salts (in one gallon of water) each month during the spring, summer and fall. They have produced quite a few new shoots from the ground. I would appreciate some advice from more experienced growers. I am in zone 8b if that has anything to do with trimming. Thanks.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

There are probably as many opinions on pruning clematises as there are clematises.

The class or group 3 clematises need to be cut back hard each year in February to March but there is nothing mandatory about cutting back clematises from other groups. Some years I cut them all back (not montanas - class 1) and some years I just cut class 2 clematises back halfway after their initial bloom. Others have their own preferences.

I do prefer cutting back clematises after bloom that would otherwise end up blooming 20' high in a tree later in the year...for obvious reasons!

Niobe falls between two classes of clematises and some advise cutting back every other year. It's always a case of trial and error. Of course, you could cut back half the stems on either Niobe or Dr. Ruppel and see which method you prefer.

Beverly Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

Thanks so much pirl. I had good blooms around the base this year and then both clems shot up one very long growth to the top of the trellis. I think that I will cut those two shoots back and hope for thickening of the base for next spring.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Keep adding manure, compost and mulch on top. The ES watering is great for more new shoots!

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