Spring-flowering clematis are ideal for injecting some early colour in the garden, before summer blooms appear.
As well as providing colour, spring-flowering clematis are also valuable sources of pollen and nectar for early-flying bees. Discover more ways to make your garden bee-friendly in spring.
Clematis are divided into three pruning groups – those in Pruning Group 1 flower on stems produced in the previous year, with no regular pruning necessary. Clematis in Pruning Group 2 should be pruned in late winter, cutting back weak and damaged stems. Other stems should be trimmed back to just above the strongest and highest pair of buds. Pruning Group 3 clematis should be pruned down to 30cm in height, in early spring, to a pair of healthy buds on each stem.
To get newly-bought clematis off to a flying start, be sure to take a look at our practical advice on planting spring-flowering clematis.
Discover some of the best spring-flowering clematis to grow, below.
Clematis x cartmanii
White blooms of Clematis x cartmanii ‘Early Sensation’
Clematis x cartmanii and its numerous cultivars are evergreen, with white or pale green flowers that are produced in their masses. Compact cultivars like ‘Pixie’ are perfect for growing in containers. Best grown in a sunny, sheltered spot. This clematis is in pruning group one.
A mass of small white flowers of Clematis spooneri
Looking for a clematis to quickly cover a shed or wall? Fast-growing Clematis spooneri, also known as Clematis montana var. sericea, has fragranced blooms that appear from May, continuing into June. This Group 1 clematis doesn’t need regular pruning, but can be trimmed in spring.
Long-petalled, violet-blue flowers of Clematis alpina
Austrian or alpine clematis, Clematis alpina, is a gorgeous, deciduous species. The indigo blooms appear from April to May and are accompanied by attractive, feathery leaves, followed by fluffy seedheads that extend the interest. Pruning Group 1.
White, star-like blooms of Clematis armandii ‘Snowdrift’
Clematis armandii is an evergreen species with glossy, oblong leaves that give it the look of a tropical vine. The white blooms are almond-scented and appear from March to April. Cultivars to grow include ‘Snowdrift’ (pictured) and ‘Apple Blossom’. Pruning Group 1.
Many white blooms of Clematis montana var. grandiflora
Clematis montana is a vigorous, deciduous clematis that bursts into flower in late spring. Flowers are sweetly scented and range from white to deep-pink, depending on the variety you choose. A great climber for a shady fence or wall. Pruning Group 1.
More spring-flowering clematis to grow
Dark purple flowers of Clematis ‘Niobe’