• Mark Parker

How to plant a Clematis

I sit here at my back French window enjoying the sheer exuberance of our Clematis Armandii, the scent wafting through the gap in the door filling the air with the utterly gorgeous springtime honey esc smell designed to attract those early buzzing foragers hungry from their long sleep. Interestingly the climber has been attracting a few rather welcome butterflies which have arrived with a couple of days of unseasonably warm weather ( I certainly am not complaining mind ).

I was having a few words with a friend over the matter of our clematis looking rather boisterous compared to her specimen which is weak and ultimately has never flowered. Both planted at the same time, both with the same aspect, soil and oddly any compost all the same. So why does our clematis do so well? In fact all our clematis have done exceedingly well in comparison. The simple answer and possibly the single most important rule for planting clematis is to keep the roots sheltered, cool and moist to a degree. I plant ours with a good dose of compost over the roots where planted with broken pots to keep it all nice and sheltered. My friends? Wide open to the elements, planted as you would most perennial plants.

1. Clematis like to be planted a little deeper than usual, I generally mulch with 4inches of fines or well rotted manure

2. Keep the roots shaded and the growth in full sun. Sometimes easier said than done! At which point I will use broken pots to provide the shade.

3. Drainage, its important to not allow the plant to sit in water. They like moist conditions not waterlogged, provide ample drainage in the form of grit at the bottom of the plant hole

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