Placing tiles over the roots

Planting a clematis

We take you through the simple process of planting a clematis, in four quick steps.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do not To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

With hundreds to choose from, clematis are one of the best climbers you can grow. 

They’re split into three groups, and which one they fall into is determined by how and when they’re pruned. Whichever you choose, all can be planted in the same way to help ensure they grow well. 

Most clematis flowers are shades of pink, purple and white, but you could also try growing yellow-flowered species like Clematis tangutica and Clematis repens. 

Take a look at these 10 pretty summer clematis to grow, for more inspiration.

Discover our step by step advice on planting a clematis, below. 

All clematis varieties do well in moisture-retentive soil, so prepare a deep planting hole.

You will need

  • Spade
  • Garden compost or well-rotted manure
  • Tiles or stones
  • Soft twine or alternative plant ties
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Total time:

Step 1

All clematis varieties do well in moisture-retentive soil, so prepare a deep planting hole and add a bucket of garden compost or well-rotted manure. Mix this thoroughly into the soil.

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Step 2

Position your clematis in the hole, so that the rootball’s top is level with the soil surface, or 6cm below for large-flowered types (pruning group three). Remove lower leaves, fill around the roots with soil and firm down.

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Step 3

Water plants thoroughly after planting and every two weeks in the first three months. Cover the soil surface around the plant base with tiles or stones to keep the roots cool and moist – something clematis enjoy. 

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Step 4

Tie in the new stems regularly using soft twine or foam-covered twist ties. Take care not to break the stems and space them evenly to maximise coverage over their supports. 

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Clematis pruning groups explained

  • Pruning group one – no pruning required. Can be pruned to tidy them up which is carried out straight after flowering
  • Pruning group two – some pruning required. Prune in February by removing dead, damaged and diseased growth. Trim other stems to just above the strongest and highest pair of buds
  • Pruning group three – hard pruning required. Cut right back in spring before growth begins, pruning to just above a healthy bud, about 30cm from the soil