Clematis is a big, showy vine that will produce masses of colourful blooms on bright green foliage. The blooms are available in a rainbow of colours, depending on the variety. If you love clematis but you're short on growing space, container growing is the obvious choice. Because clematis vines tend to be large, vigorous plants, clematis should be grown in a big, sturdy container that will show the plant off to best advantage.
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Things you need
- Large, heavy container
- Broken pottery or mesh screening
- Commercial potting soil
- Trellis, bamboo stakes or other support
- Garden ties
- Liquid fertiliser
- Fleece tree blanket (optional)
Prepare a large, heavy container for your clematis plant. The container can be made of any material, although plastic won't keep the roots cool in summer or warm in winter. The container should be 18 to 20 inches deep and at least 16 to 18 inches wide. The container must have at least one good drainage hole in the bottom, as the clematis will rot in poorly drained soil.
Place a few shards of broken pottery or mesh screening over the drainage holes to prevent the holes from becoming clogged with soil. Fill the container with good quality commercial potting soil.
Install a trellis, bamboo stakes or other support in the container at planting time. Installing the support after the clematis is established can damage the roots. Tie new tendrils to the supports with garden ties once or twice a week to keep the vines from becoming snarled.
Dig a hole in the potting soil, then plant the clematis in the hole at the same soil level it was planted in its nursery container. Pat soil gently around the roots.
Water the clematis deeply to settle the soil and saturate the roots. Thereafter, water the clematis regularly and don't allow the soil to become bone dry. The plant may need watering once or twice every day during hot, dry weather, as the soil in containers dries quickly. Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the top of the soil to keep the soil moist.
Feed the clematis every other week, using a regular liquid fertiliser. Withhold fertiliser when the buds appear, then resume regular feeding when the plant is finished blooming. Stop fertilising in mid-August to prevent tender new growth that may be damaged by winter cold.
Move the container into a garage or shed if the winter weather is expected to drop below -6.67 degrees Celsius. Alternatively, wrap the plant with a fleece tree blanket. Remove the protection as soon as the weather warms in spring. Some varieties of clematis can withstand extreme cold to minus 1.67 degrees C and won't need winter protection.
Tips and warnings
- Refer to the nursery tag for pruning information, as the timing and method of pruning clematis varies depending on the blooming season of each specific variety.
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