There’s room for a clematis or two in every garden. The variety offered in the genus is incredible, with flowers ranging from giant dinner-plate blooms to small bells.
Clematis can flower in winter, spring, summer and autumn and success is all down to the correct pruning for each plant. In order to make growing clematis easier, the genus has been split into three pruning groups. Clematis in Pruning Group 3 are the late-flowering species. Flowers are produced on the current season’s growth, so if you fail to prune you will have a poor show of flowers.
One of our most popular climbers, there are herbaceous types as well which fall into Pruning Group 3. Viticellas, orientalis and texensis clematis also belong in this group. Discover 10 Group 3 clematis to grow.
Discover more about growing Group 3 clematis in this handy grow guide.
As with all clematis, late-flowering species 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.
Plants in group three are ideal for growing through shrubs as they can be cut back hard and the stems pulled out of the supporting plant easily.
Ideally plant late-flowering species 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.
Propagate plants by taking softwood cuttings in April or May, or by growing species from seed. The seedheads of some clematis varieties are stunning. Clematis tangutica cultivars offer autumn interest thanks to their fluffy seedheads.
To take cuttings remove a section of stem from the current season’s growth that is 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.
Clematis wilt is a disease that clematis growers dread as there’s no chemical treatment available. Larger flowered types are the most likely to be struck. It’s easy to spot as plants quickly wilt. Clematis wilt is a fungal disease. Prune out all affected branches and burn them.
Clematis 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.
Rabbits, mice, slugs and snails are all partial to a meal of clematis. Protect new plants from these herbivores to give plants a good start.
Clematis in Pruning Group 3 produce flowers on the current season’s growth. Prune plants hard in early spring before growth begins. Cut back plants to just above a healthy bud about 30cm from the soil.
Avoid pruning this group and you will end up with lots of flowers that are only at the very top of the plant.
Feeding for flowers
Give your clematis a boost just before they flower by applying some tomato feed. This is particularly beneficial when growing plants in containers. The feed should encourage a healthy crop of flowers.
Group three clematis to try
- Clematis ‘Pearl d’Azure’ – a popular old variety with sky blue flowers in July to September. Height 3m
- Clematis tangutica ‘Bill MacKenzie’ – small, bell-shaped yellow flowers in late summer followed by stunning fluffy seedheads. Height 4m
- Clematis ‘Ville de Lyon’ – two toned light and dark pink flowers from June to September. Height 3.5m
- Clematis ‘Gypsy Queen’ – large bright blue/purple flowers from August to October. Height 3m