Clematis

Clematis groups explained

Discover the three clematis pruning groups, and how to care for them.

Clematis are popular climbers, and a must-have in the garden. They will happily scramble over a range of structures; and with a myriad of colours and flower shapes to choose from, it’s no wonder they’re a favourite amongst gardeners.

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With a little extra care, particularly when it comes to pruning, clematis will reward you with a show-stopping display year after year. Choose the right varieties, and you could have clematis blooming for every season. 

Planting soon? Find out how to plant clematis.

To help make sense of the many varieties of clematis available, and to simplify their care requirements, they’ve been divided into three pruning groups. Read more about the three clematis groups below.

To help make sense of the many varieties of clematis available, and to
simplify their care requirements, they’ve been divided into three
pruning groups.

Group 1 clematis

These early-flowering clematis burst into bloom in winter and spring on the previous year’s growth. This group doesn’t need pruning, but you can remove old or damaged stems after they have finished flowering, if needs be.

Find out how to plant Group 1 clematis.

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Group 2 clematis

These large-flowered hybrids produce show-stopping blooms in spring and summer on the previous year’s growth. Without pruning in February, you’ll likely have a poor display and a top-heavy plant. Trim away weak or damaged growth, and cut other stems to just above the strongest, highest buds. Prune again after the first flush of flowers to a pair of buds halfway down the stems, and they will flower again in late-summer.

Discover more beautiful climbers.

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Group 3 clematis

This late-flowering group produces flowers on the current season’s growth, which makes pruning all the more important. To ensure a robust display of flowers in summer and autumn, cut it down to a couple of feet from the ground every February or March. Left to their own devices, plants will become tangled and unproductive.

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Take a look at these 10 stunning Group 3 varieties.

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Three top tips for growing and caring for clematis

  • Clematis are thirsty plants. Give them plenty of water once a week, rather than little and often
  • Never hard-prune clematis in Group 1 and 2. Doing this will result in a year of flowers lost
  • All clematis prefer their roots to be in the shade, and the top growth to be in the sun

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