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I've got a wooden planter that I've attached a trellis to. It's going outside the front door which faces north. Next door's clematis looks very healthy so I'm encouraged by this! 

I got two clematis plants to go into it, both ones that grow up to 6ft. Both are May to Sept flowering. Whilst it would be great to have them flower at different times, I worry I'd get confused and prune them at the wrong times!? I got two because they were on offer (!) and I liked the colour combination.

Today I got a selection of euonymous plants to help cover the clematis roots and I was planning to add some spring bulbs for early colour. Not sure what, maybe some daffs. Then when they fade I figure I could just get used to popping in some bright summer bedders each year.

I ha

ve no idea if this plan is sound and wondered what 

more experienced gardeners would think?

Also, wooden planter... Do I need to line it and with what? I know to add holes and drainage materials etc.


I know there are probably a million things to comment on here, so apologies. But even advice on one small part would be very much appreciated. 

Well, I would certainly line the planter as it will rot through in a few years if you don't. Heavy duty plastic sheet with some good slits cut in the bottom.

I'm no expert on clematis pruning requirements as mine always die back of their own accord in the cold winters here. Makes life easier, if a little fraught.

Apologies for the awful formatting of my post. I tried to edit it several times on my phone, but each time it just got worse! Aargh!

Thanks Waterbutts, that's really helpful to know. I thought I would have to line it, but there seemed to be some divided opinion online about what to use.

I'll have to wait and see about the pruning needs. I only have much larger clematis in the back garden that have only needed a little bit of pruning so far. So the shorter growing clematis will be a learning process for me!

I line mine with weed control fabric, but i also use decking boards for all my garden projects so they are pre-treated.




Lottie, you will need to feed them in a pot.  You can use the special clematis feed from garden centres, or I push a few osmacote slow release pellets in every spring.  I lined my pots with bubble wrap to keep the roots cool.  I would also mulch with gravel to shade rather roots - planting euonymus will just be one more thing competing for water and nutrients in a pot.

i have had patio clematis in pots for 3 years now. Every spring they get cut down to 6 inches and they always cover their wigwam and produce loads of flowers by about June.

good luck

Thanks Singy and Chicky

Chicky - good point about competing plants in the pot. But... the pot is a square wooden planter, and I would worry that it would look empty, especially at times when the clematis is not in full swing. I was hoping to brighten up my rather dreary doorstep with it - clematis because I just love it, but was hoping other plants would help with this. Would the pot not seem awfully bare and boring with only clematis stems emerging from it? If I give the clematis roots some space would that help stop them having to compete, or is it not that simple?


how about plunging pots of other things in your planter - that would stop them competing with the clematis.  Or use some sort of decorative mulch/pebbles that are a feature in their own right?


How about simply placing another pot in front or beside each one with euonymous or bedding etc which will help shade the clem roots too as well as hiding the bare stems? I'd personally go with chicky's suggestion though as anything in the pots will compete for nutrients, and clematis are hungry plants especially in containers.


I have a clematis in a wooden planter that I made a couple if years ago from floor boards and fence posts. I lined it with a sheet if thick plastic and slashed a few holes in the bottom. to save on weight I added 6" layer of broken up polystyrene packaging to act as drainage, then filled with compost.

With yours being at the front of your house I would weigh it down with heavier drainage material to help stop someone walking off with it. 

Heres mine, which is currently filled with clematis, sunflowers, climbing hydrangea and sweet pea...



I would line it with bubble wrap round the sides to protect the wood from wet compost but also to give extra insulation to the roots in winter.   Line the base with more plastic pierced to allow drainage.

Use good quality compost such as John Innes no 3 which is heavy so less easy to walk off with if you're worried about security.   Add some clematis food granules to beef it up and mix them in well before planting.  Add a top dressing of these granules every spring to encourage strong growth and flowers.

A north facing clem doesn't need extra shade at its roots but will look better for it as plants will hide bare legs.   Bulbs will add spring interest.  Your plan to use evergreen eunymous is good as it will add winter interest and hide the dying bulb foliage.   Just make sure you keep the planter watered reguarly and give occasional liquid tonics of tomatos food in spring and up to the end of June.   Give the planter a good watering at the end of autumn and before heavy frosts are forecast.  It should then be OK till spring unless you get an unseasonal warm spell.


 this is a new planter a bit biggr than the previous one, this is lined with a double lair of  bubblewrap with stones and broken pots in the bottom it has a good topping of stones and i will stand pots on the top for a bit of colour. the old tub rotted away but it has lasted about ten years


Clematis is a beautifully varied flowering plant, available in a multitude of colours and flower sizes, however all Clematis fall into one of 3 distinct pruning groups: No Prune (Group 1), Light Prune (Group 2), and Hard Prune (Group 3).

Group 1: Early Flowering. Typically blooming in winter and spring, these varieties flower on the previous year's growth only, so if you need to remove damaged stems or control the size of the plant, the best time would be as soon as they have finished flowering. Included in this group are Alpina, Macropetala, Montana, and Evergreen varieties.

Group 2: Large Flowers. Typically larger flowers grow out on new shoots from last year's growth in late spring and summer. Some of these will occasionally display a second bloom at the tips of the current year's growth in late summer and autumn. These varieties should be pruned in spring, right back to where there are strong and healthy buds, before they start their active growth period. New flowering stems will be produced from this architecture of previous growth.

Group 3: Late Flowering. Group 3 Clematis only flower on current year's growth. These blooms tend to display from summer through to late autumn. These varieties are arguably the easiest to prune, as you basically cut it right down to about 20cm (8ins) above ground level in spring before they begin their active growth period, removing all of the previous year's growth.

Thank you all so much for the guidance and ideas. You have no idea how quickly I'm learning new things and I do so appreciate the help. I'm going to ponder for a bit before getting started I think...


LF- now that's what I call a planter! 

Lottie I assumed your planter would be a standard sort of size so I should have checked  that first . Obelixx is right too about it being north facing - missed that. It will get plenty of shade in that aspect. 

If you can make something like LeadFarmer's then the world's your oyster as far as other plants are concerned though!  



They are great planters. LF that looks great for homemade I can use something like that myself. I wish i was a bit more handy like that. I've got the tools but no skills.

The planter is approx 40cm sq. and I attached a 6ft x1ft trellis onto it. It looks rather good at the moment, if a little like a strange throne! I wouldn't want to put any smaller pots on top as, with it being outside the front door, I'd be worried about it going walkabout! But I am intrigued by the idea of plunging other pots inside...

So many choices!


40cm square is not a lot of compost to keep 2 hungry clems going.  You'll need to stay on top of feeding and watering to keep them healthy and not crowd them with too many bulbs.    I'd be tempted just to stick with a single, well clipped euonymous to provide interest and disguise their bare legs and avoid giving too much competition for water and nutrients.

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