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I have a beautiful clematis 'crystal fountain' in my garden, which is growing really rapidly. I have been training up my trellis as it grows, but quite a lot of the stems are tangling around each other. Should I try to prevent this, or is this all part of the course. Also, when do I prune them? They are deciduous,. so do I just trim throughout the summer when they start to go over the boundary, or do I wait until next year and then chop back completely?
Any advice welcomed!
Hi Lottie, Crystal Fountain is a group 2 Clematis so shouldn't be pruned until after it flowers and then only lightly or to keep it in bounds. If it's very tangled you can sort it out when it's dormant usually Jan/Feb ( it may be too late to do it this year if it's already put on a lot of growth but if it's just budding you can) carefully working from the top of each stem cut off all the dead leaves which will enable you to untangle them from each other, do one stem at a time and lay the stems out on the ground as you go. When they are all separated tie them in to their support as you want, try and leave a four to five inch gap between each stem so they won't wrap themselves around each other quite so much, you can fan them out so you get a larger flowering area and they are flatter to the trellis, which looks much tidier. Laying the bottom ones almost horizontal also gives you flowers from top to bottom.
There are different groups of clematis Lottie, which group they are in depends on when they flower, and how and when you prune. From RHS big book. Group one are early flowering and flower on last years growth, so should be pruned after flowering removing dead or damaged stems and shortening others into there allotted space. Group two, Early to mid season, large flowered cultivars, remove dead or damaged stems before growth begins in early spring, trimming all remaining stems back to where strong buds are visible. These buds provide a framework of second year shoots which, in turn, produce side shoots that flower in late spring early summer. The flowers can then be removed. Group 3 late flowering. Cut back all stems to a pair of buds about 6" to 8" above the soil before growth begins in early spring. Hope that helps.
Thanks so much to both of you for your advice, Ashleigh and Lisa.
wait awhile until it growing well and after flowering either carefully in summer or early spring but be care full unless its a strong plant it will disappear.