How to Care for and Feed Clematis Plants

Updated February 21, 2017

Clematis plants are often referred to as "queen of the climbers" because some varieties of these fragrant blooming plants can grow as high as 20 feet. Available in snowy white or deep hues of pink, red, blue and purple, clematis plants also come in hundreds of varieties, most of which are vining plants. The care and feeding of clematis plants varies somewhat depending on the species, but there are a few basic needs that they all share.

Place clematis plants in full sun for approximately six hours. Some species of clematis plants do not require as much sun as others, so you may need to do some research on your specific species.

Apply a heavy mulch of leaves, bark and straw to protect roots so that they can retain moisture. Alternatively, you can plant other flowers around the base of the plant to keep the soil moist.

Water your clematis well and often enough to keep roots moist, but provide adequate drainage to prevent root rot. The taller the plant, the more moisture it will require.

Support your clematis by using a trellis, fence or some other means of support.

Feed your clematis with a slow-release low nitrogen formula, such as a 5-10-10 fertiliser. Consult your garden centre for frequency of application.

Check your clematis for signs of clematis wilt and remove affected branches. This is a fungus that turns stems black and brown because the plant is unable to draw water up from the roots. Consult your garden centre for the appropriate fungicide and follow the directions carefully.

Prune dead and broken stems in late winter or early spring. Delayed blooming can occur if the plant is not pruned in the right way, so be sure to follow instructions for your specific variety of plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Low-nitrogen fertiliser
  • Mulch
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About the Author

Lee Weal began writing and editing online content as a corporate intranet administrator in 2000 and was also the publisher and editor of a monthly employee newsletter. Her articles specialize in children's issues and home improvement.