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I planted a Clematis 'Constance' in April to climb up through a mature Ceanothus on a South West facing wall.  The clematis has grown right to the top (about 8') but my dilemma is should I leave all this new green growth to flower next year, or should I cut right back (I believe it is prune code 3) and then remove all the shoots as they die back.  Seems a shame but might produce a stronger and healthier plant in Year 2, when I probably wouldn't need to prune quite so hard?

Alina W

If it's a 3 you should prune fairly hard back, down to about 18", in spring. Clematis are very vigorous, and you won't see most of the flowers if you let them grow. You may also find that the growth dies back to the ground on its own.

As far as I know, Constance is an alpina with deep pinky red flowers and that would make it a group 1 which flowers in spring on old wood and should not be pruned at all except to keep it in bounds and renew vigour.

Thank you all and for the link - most useful.  L

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