Clematis Rebecca Evipo016

Group 2 clematis - Grow Guide

Take a look at this handy grow guide to find out all you need to know on growing Group 2 clematis.

Clematis are popular, largely hardy climbers. They are prized for adding height to gardens and decorating pergolas and obelisks.

As the genus is so large and the pruning requirements different they have been divided into three pruning groups.

Clematis that belong to Pruning Group 2 are the impressive large-flowered hybrids. Some have flowers the size of dinner plates. Plants in this group are grown for flower power rather than vigour. Most flower in early summer on shoots that develop from last year’s growth. Discover Group 2 clematis to grow.

If plants are left unpruned or pruned incorrectly the result is fewer flowers with all the growth at the top of the plant. 

Discover more about these dazzling plants, in our Grow Guide to Group 2 clematis. 

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Planting position

As with all clematis, large-flowered hybrids prefer their roots to be in the shade and top growth in the sun. As a rule most clematis prefer to be planted in garden soil rather than in containers.

If growing in a pot, plant in John Innes no.3 with added grit. 

Planting technique

Ideally plant large-flowered hybrid clematis in spring or autumn. Dig a hole that is double the width and depth of the root ball of the clematis. Dig in some well-rotted organic matter and a sprinkling of bone meal. Remove the plant from its pot – don’t be tempted to tease the roots out. Place the root ball in the hole and backfill. Firm in well and water. Continue to water until plants show healthy signs of growth.

Clematis benefit from being planted deeper than they were in the purchase pot. Plant about 5cm deeper and new shoots will be encouraged.

To give plants a head start, some gardeners prune plants after planting. Cut back to about 30cm just above a leaf node. You may miss a few flowers but you'll end up with a stronger plant. 

Propagation

Clematis can be grown from seed but the offspring of the large-flowered hybrids will vary from the parent plant. Therefore it's preferable to propagate plants by taking softwood cuttings in April or May. Remove a section of stem from the current season’s growth that's ripe but not too woody or too soft. Fill a garden pot with cutting compost and water. Add a fine layer of grit to the top of the compost.

Cut a section of the stem above a leaf joint. Your cuttings should be about 7cm long. Remove some of the leaves so each cutting is left with just one. Push the end of the cutting into the pot so it supports itself.

Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or place in a propagator and leave in a warm place but out of direct sunlight. Cuttings can take up to five weeks to root.

Clematis can also be propagated by layering.

Troubleshooting

Clematis wilt is a disease that clematis growers dread as there's no chemical treatment available. It’s easy to spot as plants quickly wilt. Clematis wilt is a fungal disease. Prune out all affected branches and burn them.

Large-flowered hybrids are also prone to an attack from earwigs. If you have spotted holes around the edge of petals and can see no sign of a culprit then the night working earwig could be to blame. Create earwig traps by pushing a 1m long cane into the ground by the plant. Stuff a plastic plant pot with straw and place it upturned on the top of the cane. In the day they will hide in the ‘nest’. Catch them in the act and remove them.    

Care

Clematis in Pruning Group 2 should be pruned in February. Simply remove damaged or weak stems to make way for fresh growth. Then trim other stems to just above the strongest and highest pair of buds.

Flowers are produced on shoots that develop from last year’s growth. If cut back hard, you will lose a year of flowers. 

Clematis in small gardens

If space is short in your garden, grow large-flowered varieties up a climbing rose. Choose a clematis and rose that flower at the same time and have complimentary flower colours. 
Clematis 'Vyvyan Pennell'
Clematis 'Vyvyan Pennell'

Group two clematis to grow

  • Clematis ‘Vyvyan Pennell’ – impressive giant, double, pale purple blooms in May, June and September. Height 3m
  • Clematis ‘The President’ – deep purple, large flowers. This plant has been grown in gardens for over a century. Height 3m
  • Clematis ‘Niobe’ – deep purple/red flowers from early summer until early autumn. Prefers dappled shade as the large flowers fade in the sun. Height 2.5m
  • Clematis ‘Lasurstern’ – large, Wedgwood blue flowers in May, June and again in September. Height 3m
  • Clematis ‘Barbara Jackman’ – large mauve flowers with a claret red stripe in May, June and September. Height 2.5m

Related content

Planting a clematis

How to take clematis cuttings

Spring-flowering clematis to grow

Five plants to hide a garden shed

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