Clematis plants are a truly wonderful addition to any garden and home. With the right care , you can enjoy their blooms from spring until late fall.
Where to plant : Clematis blooms best in full sun. Chose a spot that will provide sufficient light for your plant.
Spacing : Plant Clematis 24 to 36 inches apart.
Soil : Clematis prefers a moist, well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly alkaline pH. In areas with acidic soils, add lime periodically to keep the pH moderated. Clematis is susceptible to stem wilt, so although the soil needs to be moist, it must be well-drained.
Planting : Plant clematis in spring or fall. You can plant in summer, especially in the North, but you'll have to keep the new transplants well-watered and weeded.
Watering: Clematis likes sunny tops and cool, moist bottoms. Keep the soil consistently moist, but be sure it's well drained or you may encourage wilt disease. Pay special attention to watering the first year. Don't let the soil dry out during a hot summer spell. Once established, clematis are more forgiving of infrequent watering.
Fertilizing: Clematis are heavy feeders. Amend the soil at planting with compost. Each spring add a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost around the base of the vines and a balanced organic fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Side dress again in early summer.
Trimming & Pruning: Spring and early summer-blooming clematis should be deadheaded after flowering to encourage more blooms to form next year or even later in the summer. Late summer and fall-blooming types don't require deadheading. In fact, the wispy seed heads are an attractive addition to the fall and winter garden.
Pests/ Disease: Clematis has very few serious pests and diseases. The biggest problem home gardeners will find with their clematis vine is stem wilt. This occurs when individual stems growing from the ground suddenly wilt and die. Although this problem feels severe, it usually doesn't kill the plant. Simply prune back the wilted stem to the ground. To help prevent this fungal wilt in the future, plant your clematis in well-drained soil where it gets at least 6 hours of sun a day.
Clematis may also be attacked by powdery mildew disease. The leaves will turn white, then yellow and drop. To prevent powdery mildew from occurring, try a home remedy consisting of one tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of horticultural oil and one tablespoon of liquid detergent in a gallon of water. Spray when you first see signs of the disease.