Clematis vines are valued for their showy flowers, vigor and adaptability to a wide range of climates. Clematis vines will happily adorn a garden fence, scramble through shrubbery or festoon a trellis with flowers all summer long. Although perennial clematis vines are easy to care for, there are a few requirements that should be met to ensure maximum performance. Read on to learn how to grow perennial clematis.
Select a clematis vine that will meet your desired height and blooming time. Clematis vines can have a mature height that varies from 6 to 20 feet or more. Clematis blooming times can vary from late winter to late fall. Selecting a variety of vines can extend the blooming season.
Choose the proper site. Perennial clematis vines do not tolerate transplanting very well. Clematis vines will produce the most flowers in full sun, but prefer a cool root-run. Providing a 2-inch layer of mulch will help the vine get established.
Provide the right type of support. Unlike some vines that cling to surfaces, hardy clematis vines climb by twining tendrils that attach to trellises, bushes or even other vines. If you wish to train your clematis vine to grow up a tree trunk, wrap some mesh or netting around the trunk for the vine to cling to.
Be patient. An old adage about perennial clematis vines is that the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap. If you need instant color before your clematis vine starts to perform, plant an annual vine like morning glory alongside the clematis.
Prune the clematis at the optimal time. Vines that flower in the spring produce flowers on the previous year's growth; so excessive pruning will reduce the blooms. Spring flowering clematis require only light pruning to tidy the appearance of the vine. Summer and fall flowering clematis produce blooms on new growth, so vines should be pruned to the ground in late winter or early spring.
Many varieties of perennial clematis vines are prized for their sweet fragrance. Sweet autumn clematis produces masses of tiny, fragrant flowers at the end of summer. Perennial clematis vines can be propagated at home by taking cuttings in the summer. Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone, place the cuttings in moist soil and keep damp until new growth appears.
Sudden die-back of perennial clematis vines may signal clematis wilt, a common disease of perennial clematis vines. Remove and discard any infected stems. Do not add diseased stems to your compost bin.