The main pruning season for clematis is from late winter to early spring. But some can also be pruned after their first flourish of flowers in early summer.
Regular pruning of your clematis encourages strong growth and flowering. If left unpruned it will turn into a tangled mess with a bare base and flowers above eye level.
There are a great number of clematis species and for pruning purposes, they are split into three specific pruning groups based on the period of flowering and the age of the flowering wood.
Group 1: Prune mid to late spring after flowering.
Group 2: Prune in late winter and after the first flourish of flowers in early summer.
Group 3: Prune in late winter.
If you have forgotten which group your clematis falls into or you have inherited a garden remember this simple rhyme.
If it flowers before June, don’t prune.
Then simply take note when it flowers, and then next spring you will know whether to give it a hard prune or leave it well alone.
When To Prune Clematis Montana
When To Prune Herbaceous Clematis
Prune herbaceous clematis back to near ground level in late autumn or early spring.
How To Prune Clematis
How To Prune Clematis In Group 1
This group is made of early flowering clematis that blooms on shoots that are produced the previous year. They require no regular pruning except for the removal of spent blooms.
After subsequent years some training and thinning may be needed. If renovation is required, clematis can be cut back to 6in (15cm) from the base after flowering. If renovated this will affect flowering and shouldn’t be carried out again within a three year period.
How To Prune Clematis In Group 2
Group 2 is comprised of large flowered clematis which flowers in the spring short shoots developing from last year’s growth.
They only require to be deadheaded and cut back to a large growth bud immediately below the spent bloom.
If preferred they can be left unpruned other than the removal of dead shoot ends in the spring.
How To Prune Clematis In Group 3
This group is made up of clematis that flower in mid to late summer on terminal 2ft (60cm) of the current year’s growth.
If this type is left unchecked growth will continue from where it ended the previous year and result in a tangled mess of growth.
This late flowering clematis is best cut back hard in late winter every year to the lowest pair of buds.