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Pruning your Clematis

The Spring Hill Nurseries® EZ Pruning Guide

Let's cut through all the noise about Clematis pruning — it's actually quite simple. The Clematis expert, Deborah Hardwick has given Spring Hill Nurseries a quick and easy way to remember how to prune each type of Clematis. It's either green, yellow, or red.

If you want to know what color a specific variety falls under, look at its product webpage:

Where to check pruning details

Green means Go — Also referred to as Type III or Type C »

Prune as often or as fully as you like to promote reblooming.

These Clematis are vigorous. Each year, they bloom primarily on new vines, often lacking viable vines older than the current season. Because they flower freely on new stems, we suggest pruning the plants every spring down to just above the lowest node showing growth. Large, established plants can also be pruned flat to the soil, which helps them initiate new stems. New mid-season growth will rebloom in most U.S. climates.

Yellow means Slow — Also referred to as Type II or Type B »

Use caution to retain stems from last season for best flowering.

Even though some of these cultivars can flower on new growth, these Clematis usually produce the largest flowers on older woody stems from prior years. In spring, prune to remove ends that are damaged or showing no signs of new growth. A good rule of thumb is to cut the stem right above the highest set of fat buds that are breaking growth. You might also want to prune right after the first flowering period of the season to remove damaged vines or to maintain a desired plant size.

Red means No — Also referred to as Type I or Type A »

Only trim if needed after flowering.

These Clematis only flower well on the prior year's growth. You'll be able to spot them easily because they're usually the earliest blooming Clematis in your garden. For these early bloomers, trim right after the first flowering period of the season, but only to remove growth above a broken or damaged stem or to maintain a smaller, tidier plant.

Quick Tip—the earlier the Clematis blooms, the more caution you should use.

Have another question? Return to the Customer Service Help page or send an e-mail directly to Customer Service

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