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Taylors Clematis :: Plant Care

Plant Care

Removing the Clematis from the pot
Place one hand on top of the compost so that the cane goes inbetween your fingers, then turn it upside down, with your other hand simply 'Pat' the pot on its bottom and the compost will then release from the sides of the pot, and the pot will be able to be lifted off the compost (a bit like a sandcastle).
Please do not just pull the cane and the stems expecting the whole thing to come out of the pot, as you will pull the crown from the roots and kill the plant. (I know it sounds crazy, but you would not believe how many people simply put their left foot on the lip of the pot, then grab the cane and stems in 2 hands then 'pull').
Planting in pots
Please see the above diagram, taking note of the fact that we don't recommend using plastic or metal pots/planters (as the roots get far too hot). Stick to Terracotta/ wood/ stone / pottery/ceramic or fibre clay ones - as these will all keep the roots cool naturally. The ideal pot size for 1 clematis would be 18 inches in width and depth (as the average clematis root system can get between 12 inches to 16 inches in circumference - if you imagine something about the size of a basketball you won't be far off)
Often people use Obelisks in their pots to grow their clematis on, but you can also use wicker frames/ hoops/ wigwams or ect. In all instances it is good practise to leave the stems attached to our cane and plant the whole thing in there for extra support lower down the stems (or for at least 3-6 months until it gets a good grip on whatever you are climbing it on) this stops the plant from 'slumping' and stops stems kinking and then dying off due to lack of support
You can also plant some shallow rooted plants in the same pot too if you wish (Pelargoniums /
Geraniums or any short rooted bedding plants) this will also help the roots of the clematis keep cool as they act as natural shade but will not compete with the root space for the clematis. However if you don't want to grow anything else in the pot with your clematis then that's fine, just remember to put a few inches of slate chippings or wood chippings on the surface of the pot to stop the sun from warming up the roots from above. The idea pot size for 2 clematis would be around 21-24 inches. Watering for potted clematis (as a guide) Clematis are thirsty things so during the summer months we water our potted plants every other day to keep them wet enough, then gradually phase it down to once a week as you reach autumn. We will only water as required all thru winter and then start our routine again early spring.

Planting in the ground
 Prepare the site by digging a hole 18" square and at least 18" deep (this is also the minimum diameter of a pot/container). Break up the soil at the base of the hole and (if you choose to) you can dig in peat or garden compost mixed in with a few handfuls of bonemeal.After carefully taking the plant from the pot, remove the lower leaves of the plant so the 1st 3-5 inches are bare stems then gently loosen a few of the roots (take care not to damage) place your plant in the hole leaving our cane with the stems still attached to the cane in there for at least 3-6 month for support on an angle aiming towards the trellis/wires/netting or ,so that the top of the rootball is about 3-5" below ground level, then backfill with a mixture of John Innes number 3 and multi purpose compost 50/50, and give it a good gallon of water. Clematis like nice well drained positions not clay soils (their roots will rot off if sat in water)  Do not use manure as this not only scorches the stems it can also rot the roots.
We still water our freshly planted clematis exactly the same as we would do if we had put them in a pot for the 1st 6-12 months as it can take a while for their roots to tap into a natural water system. We also still water our beds and borders a couple of times a week thru the summer months to stop them from drying out. If you ever start to see the bottom leaves going brown on a clematis (no matter where its planted) then this means that its not getting enough water and they will soon travel further and further up the stems - getting crispy along the way (until you rectify the water issue) - this is the plant telling you that its very thirsty!
Clematis Need a cool Root Run
 This is one of the most important parts of the planting process. Make sure that you cover the surface after planting with something like Stone, Slate or Woodchips etc. This is to stop the roots from getting hot through the summer (and helps to retain moisture). If you don't want to use things like this then you could grow some perennials around the base (that do not have invasive roots like Pelargoniums /
Geraniums or any short rooted bedding plants) to do the same 'shading' job.
 Leave the lower 'ties' still attached to the cane (these will hold the base of the plant secure whilst the top half gets a grip to your clinbling frame) these lower ties can be released in 4-6 weeks if you wish, but still leave the cane in until the clematis is fully established. If your soil dries out quickly or your plant is in a position where it receives very little water, place an open ended pipe (About 1 1/2-2" dia.) in the planting hole, one end close to the rootball the other just above ground level. By adopting this procedure water can be conveyed to the plants roots where it is most needed in times of drought. Top dress with a slow release fertiliser eg. Osmocote. Always remember that Clematis are planted for the following season (don't expect too much of it the same year). The Clematis Society have a golden 3 year rule from the point of planting. year 1 - sleeping, year 2 - creeping, year 3 leaping!
 Cutting single stemmed plants back half way shortly after planting will encourage new fresh growth and will make for a bushier stronger plant the next season.
Planting Positions
 You don't necessarily need a wall to grow Clematis against, they are equally at home when planted amongst trees and shrubs. The montanas lend themselves very well to growing through trees - a word of advice here though if you plant montanas through apple trees you might not see the clematis flowers for apple blossom. Clematis that are allowed to scramble through shrubs and small growing conifers provide much interest - Roses and Clematis when grown together make an excellent combination. Planted into containers Clematis will enhance any patio. Herbaceous types deserve more recognition and look excellent in perennial borders. We have even got some varieties that can now be planted in window boxes and hanging baskets! they are so compact!
Plant Spacings
If you want a full display of flowers (literally a wall of flower) then we would suggest planting clematis at about 3 feet centres. The average spread of around 90% of clematis is about 3 feet or 1 metre (this does not apply to Montana types and Armandii types - these spread a lot wider and further) 
So if you are planting on a 6 foot fence panel for example, you will have 2 choices
a) Plant 1 Clematis directly in the middle and it will cover the centre area of the panel
b) Plant 2 Clematis leaving 3 feet in-between them and it will cover the whole panel

When growing on walls or fences, make sure that you have plenty of support for them vertically and horizontally about 4 inches to 6 inches apart in the formation a bit like a 'hash tag' #### start your support from about 6 - 12inches above ground level for best results. Plant the clematis on an angle aiming towards the Mesh/trellis/wires/netting and leave our cane in the ground for support, until the clematis gets a good grip on whatever you choose to climb it through (maybe a year or so) as trying to remove the cane any sooner will result in the stems kinking / blocking the supply of water up the vine and then they will start to die off. Here is a link to our mesh/ netting support -
When growing in pots make sure the obelisk you choose has regular horizontal supports (as some are better than others)
Good feeding is important. In addition to slow release fertilisers & In order to produce good flowers and good growth the plants should be fed by a good high Potash based, liquid fertilizer following the manufacturer's recommendations (generally a cap full to a gallon can is fine)- twice a week. Start feeding early spring and continue until just before flowering. Try not to feed so much during flowering as this will tend to reduce the flowering period.  Tomato feed is fine & should give good blooms. Start to Feed again weekly after flowering until mid autumn to encourage further growth and more flowers. If you find that your leaves are discolouring (yellow/bronze/pale green etc..) then start to feed in addition with a high nitrogen feed weekly, and this will green them back up again.
here is a link to our Clematis Feed -

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