Clematis Pruning Group 2
The Big-Flowered Summer Bloomers
Masses of frilly star-shaped blooms; big white snowflakes that blanket the garden twice a season; true-blue color for 4 solid months. The big-flowered, double, and otherwise showy Clematis varieties are among the very best for the garden, and you can master the annual pruning technique in about 3 minutes. First, make sure you've already done the special first- and second-year pruning. Then just maintain your Clematis's beauty as follows:
Group 2 Clematis blooms on "old wood," which simply means stems that grew last season or earlier. (This season's new stems — the ones that grow from spring till the summer bloom season begins — won't flower until next year.) Therefore, you don't want to prune too radically. The rule of thumb is that in late winter or earliest spring, cut back each stem about 6 to 8 inches, to right above the point where it branches. At this branching point, you should see a pair of little bumps. These are buds, and you want to keep them. Find all the branching stems on the Clematis and trim to just above those buds. (You may have read in gardening manuals: "Trim to a pair of strong buds." That's what this process is — the two buds right above the place where each stem branches are the "pair of strong buds" you're looking for! They're easy to see on the slender Clematis stems.)
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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