Clematis Pruning Guide

Clematis Pruning Guide

Get the Best Blooms from your Clematis

You’ll find Clematis pruning groups for your specific variety listed in the descriptions in our catalog and online. Follow the pruning guidelines below to get the best bloom show out of your Clematis.

Clematis Pruning Guide

Don't cripple your Clematis! Make sure that you are pruning your vine properly based on its blooming habit. Clematis can either bloom on old wood (Group I), new wood (Group 3), or both (Group 2), and you must be sure to prune accordingly, because improper pruning can set your bloom show back a year or more!

Note: In the illustration above, the dark stems are what you want to keep, while the light stems are what you want to prune away.

Group I:

(Bloom in early spring from buds set the previous season on old wood; doesn’t die back in winter)

Prune only when needed, after bloom in spring.

Clematis should only be pruned sparingly. They tend to bloom earlier, in the spring. After their bloom show is over you can give them a light pruning. All you want to do is clear out dead wood and keep the stems tidy.

Since this group blooms only on old wood, cutting too low or too early in the season could cost you flowers! An example of a Group I Clematis is Pamela Jackman.


Group II:

(Usually includes rebloomers that produce flowers on old wood in late spring/early summer and often bloom again on new wood in late summer or fall)

In March, remove dead wood and cut the remaining stems 6 to 8 inches to a pair of strong buds.

Clematis should be given a moderate trim. Since they bloom on old and new wood alike, you want to trim enough to encourage new growth, but without losing any promising buds. Remove dead wood and cut back the remaining stems just 6 to 8 inches.

Do this trim in March, before the blooming has begun. This group tends to bloom in the middle of the season, setting flowers on old wood in late spring/early summer and then reblooming on the new wood through late summer or even early fall. This group is a bit more forgiving—even if you prune a bit too harshly, you will still get to enjoy the late-season rebloom! An example of a Group II Clematis is Vancouver Fragrant Star.


Group III:

(Bloom on new wood in the summer and fall; dies to the ground over winter)


Each year in March, prune all stems back to a strong set of buds 12 inches from the ground.

Clematis are the easiest to prune, since you basically cut the whole thing down! This group goes dormant in the winter, letting the stems die off, and then they grow anew each spring. This means that each year in March you should prune back all the stems to just about 12 inches off the ground to make way for the new growth.

This group will come back strong and will bloom on the new wood each year. Since they have to re-grow their mature size each summer, they tend to be the last to flower, opening in late summer or fall. An example of a Group III Clematis is Betty Corning.


For more information on Clematis care and pruning, contact us directly by calling our public relations department at 1-864-941-4521.