Clematis Pruning Group 1
The Ramblers and Early Bloomers
The key to pruning Group 1 is that they don't require any pruning, but if you're going to do it, do it right after bloom. And, as long as you ruthlessly prune it right after flowering each year, you can cut off as much growth as you like. Whatever grows between the time you prune and the following spring probably won't bloom next year, but all the old wood will, and you can control the growth of ramblers beautifully that way. (In other words, if you want your Clematis to grow only 7 feet tall, for instance, prune it back to 7 feet right after it blooms. It will grow a bit more before winter, but the new growth won't bloom next spring — just the old 7 feet you wanted! Repeat this process every year and your Clematis will give you a perfect 7-foot column of blooms, season after season!)
The only other reason to prune your Group 1 Clematis is to remove any dead or diseased growth. If your Clematis has climbed a tall tree or sprawled over an outbuilding, prune any poor growth you can reach and let the rest fend for itself. If you've performed your first- and second-year pruning faithfully, your Clematis will be lush and many-stemmed, blooming close to the ground as well as farther up along its vigorous stems, and will look great year after year!
Once you know your Clematis's pruning number and get that first-year trim out of the way, keeping this woody climber looking its best and blooming like crazy is simple! A few minutes once a year will yield you armloads of flowers for many seasons, and you will continue to find new uses for Clematis, from hiding an unsightly fence to decorating your most formal garden art!
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