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I have a Polish Spirit clematis and usually prune early March down to about 6 inches from the ground. This year due to the mild weather it has already started to shoot high up on the trellis. Is it a good time to prune it now or still too early? As there is so much growth it seems a shame to cut it all off. ( some shoots already 3 inches long).


I've already semi - pruned some of mine last October/November because I had to move them into their new raised beds from pots, so they haven't got terribly long stems anyway.  I think if you leave them as they are they'll just be  leggy with most of the flowers at the top. If the plants are sheltered you could probably do them now - maybe leave a couple of longer stems if you want and see what happens. I think someone said recently that they've started doing theirs because they have so many. (Berghill perhaps?)

 I know what you mean about chopping off nice new growth though!


I've started on mine now too, DD & FG, both group 2 and 3.  Much earlier than I normally do but some are putting on serious growth and many of the 2s are already too leggy.  If those I have cut back hard start to shoot from below ground and there are frosts forecast, I'll give them a good mulch which all clematis appreciate anyway.  There seem to be a few casualties in particularly wet areas which are showing no signs of life and have dead stems so those have been cut back to below ground level.  Looks like some clematis shopping may be on the cards.


The weather's always a good excuse for some new  plants Bob! 

Ashleigh 2

I'm getting some boulevard clematis for hanging baskets, pricey now but will save on bedding plants long term. Anyone else grown them like this? The supplier says I can leave the baskets out all winter with no protection.



I grew Silver moon and Sunset in hanging baskets one year but their roots ended up too restricted and dry by  the end of summer despite regular watering and not being in full sun.  They've done much better since I liberated them into the ground.

I have started pruning my group 3 clems and have taken cuttings of Crystal Fountain as there were so many buds higher up.  Not convinced they'll work this early but nothing ventred, nothing gained.  With others like Arabella, Little Nell, Princess Diana and Etoile Violette I shall try layering a couple of stems to see if taht works better and then cut all the other stems as usual. 



Same here obelixx - I have taken 32 cuttings from the prunes-off material and bunged them in my heated propagator, just because it's there.  Hopefully bottom-heat will help but I'm not expecting any results - nothing to lose though, as you say.


Easy way to remember - 14th Feb - do the Valentine Day Massacre on the clematis 


In normal winters we are frozen solid in February with -15C being usual and worse not unknown so I try and buy only those which are hardy to -25C and keep my fingers and toes crossed for the ones that only do -20C.  They don't usually start shooting till mid to late March and even then new growth can be blasted by a late, heavy frost.

This year we've had no serious frosts and temps of 13C in January which is a 30C difference.   I've been out with the slug pellets and the secateurs but am leaving the major pruning till a bit later and am only pruning the clems in sunnier beds where the spring bulbs and new perennial shoots are already showing through and needed some weeding and cutting back of last season's growth respectively.   

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