The show begins in mid-spring in most climates, when masses and masses of 2½-inch appleblossom-pink blooms open from rosy-pink buds. Strongly scented of vanilla, they perfume the entire spring garden, remaining for weeks against bronze-tinted new foliage.
The new foliage of this Clematis is interesting too. Although it becomes leathery, tough, and dark green, in spring it opens with bronze tints. This is an evergreen Clematis, so the new leaves appear as the old are passing, for a lovely two-tone effect.
'Apple Blossom' reaches 10 to 15 feet high and 5 to 8 feet wide. It is ideal to train up a trellis or arbor, festoon a fence or outbuilding, or even cover the garden floor. Recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the RHS, this classic selection is very fast-growing. It prefers a bit of shade in all but the most northern locations. Pruning Group I. Zones 6-9.
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!
|Shop Clematis||Time to Prune?||Group 2||Group 3|
Set out plants immediately upon receipt spacing widely to allow for ultimate growth and spread. A rich, loose, well-drained soil that has been enriched is ideal; soil should be porous to allow for free run of the roots.
The rule of thumb is that clematis prefer shade at the roots (this can be provided by low growing plants or a cooling mulch), and sun at the tops. For this reason they do well interplanted among trees and shrubs, through which they easily grow. When planting, set a stake next to the plant for support.
Water during periods of drought. Do not be discouraged if top growth is slow to appear; the roots must establish themselves before top growth occurs. For pruning purposes, Clematis can be divided into 3 groups. The first group blooms in the spring from buds set the previous season. Prune, when needed, after bloom. The second group blooms in early summer on short stems that come from buds set the previous season.
In March, remove dead wood and cut the remaining stems back to a pair of strong buds. The third group blooms on new growth. Therefore, prune all stems back to 12 inches from the ground each year in March. We also recommend a winter mulch. They also respond well to a topdressing of well aged manure or rich compost, preferably applied twice a year.
Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates: