Advanced Clematis Pruning:
Beyond the Basics

The Frozen North Pruning System will take care of most of
your clematis pruning needs. However, sometimes special
circumstances arise that require an out-of-the-box approach.

Overgrown Full Prune Clematis Fall Pruning
Lazy Don't Bother Clematis Pruning New Clematis

Overgrown "Full Prune" Clematis

If your clematis blooms in late June or July, it is known as a Full Prune clematis and should be pruned back in early spring. However, life sometimes gets in the way, and pruning doesn't happen as it would in a perfect world. And if this only happens for a year or two, it's no big deal - just resume pruning the correct way and all will be well.
BUT:
If your Full Prune clematis hasn't been pruned in many years, the shock of cutting the entire plant back could be too much for it! In this case, the best thing is to Full Prune 1/3 to ½ of the stems this spring. Make sure to fertilize according to our recommendations this year and then next spring Full Prune another 1/3 to ˝ of the old growth, along with the section you Full Pruned this year. You’ll be able to tell the older growth because the stems will be significantly heavier and thicker than the new growth.

Lazy "Don't Bother" Clematis

So your Early Flowered Hybrid clematis is underwhelming you. Maybe it's not blooming well or has a lot of unhealthy foliage or just isn't very thick. What's a body to do? Well, as long as you've been following our fertilizing instructions and the plant is AT LEAST three years old**, you have a slick trick up your sleeve. The next time you prune your Full Prune clematis, prune the Lazy "Don't Bother" clematis as well. Then make sure you carefully follow our fertilizing instructions and see what happens! The bloom schedule will be thrown off for the first year, but you should see a dramatic improvement in performance!

**Please remember this:
  • First year they sleep,
  • Second year they creep.
  • Third year they leap.
If your clematis is less than three years old, there's probably nothing wrong and you just need to be patient.

Fall Pruning

We're often asked whether it's OK to prune clematis in the fall, instead of waiting until late winter/early spring. The answer is, "Well, kinda..."

Pruning New Clematis

You're going to like this: We keep the clematis quite short while we are growing them for you, so you won't need to do any pruning when you get them. Keeping them short provides several other benefits as well:
  • They become fuller, better branched plants sooner.
  • They are much less apt to break on the way to their new home with you.
  • They don't tangle (as much!) while sitting on our benches.
  • They fit better into the boxes when we ship them!

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Hummingbird Farm
Brian and Cindy Tibbetts
202 Bean Street  Turner, Maine 04282
(207) 224-8220   hummingbird@megalink.net
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