Clematis, one of the best and most prolific climbers is often used to cover a chain link fence or trellis. This fragrant bloom comes in a multitude of colours and flower head types, ranging from a delicate spray of bells, golden lanterns, large-headed blooms and double-headed blooms, flowering typically from Spring through to Autumn. A type and colour to accentuate any garden area and can be grown directly in soil or in patio tubs. Height can range from 3 feet to 40 feet so bear this in mind when purchasing. I am often asked, “What to do with Clematis after Flowering?

Clematis Alpina
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Do You Deadhead Clematis?

Deadheading is optional depending on your requirements, it is not necessarily required but is a good idea for some of the early flowering varieties as it promotes new growth later in the year.

  • Deadheading will encourage new blooms to grow and help to maintain your display throughout the summer months.
  • By not deadheading you encourage the seed pod to ripen, allowing harvesting of the seeds at a later date for further re-planting in the future.

How to Harvest Clematis Seeds?

  • Allow the seed pods to mature on the plant, the usual sign of maturity is when the seed pod goes brown with a feathery coating.
  • Pull one seed pod towards you pinching the stem behind to obtain a clean break.
  • Seeds inside should be brown, if green, delay harvests a few days and try again until seeds appear brown then harvest the remainder.
  • Keep seeds in an airtight container in a cool dry area until these can be planted out in mid-Autumn or germinated indoors on a windowsill.
Large Clematis Viticella Flower
Large Clematis Viticella Flower

How to Care for Clematis After Flowering?

Clematis are classified into three main pruning groups based on their flowering time and growth characteristics. Knowing the group will determine how you care for clematis after flowering.

Group 1 – Early Flowering

If your clematis flowers in winter or spring, it belongs to Pruning Group One. Typically, if it blooms before June, it falls into this category.

Group 1 - Clematis Montana
Group 1 – Clematis Montana
  • Pruning: These clematis require minimal pruning. After flowering, give the plant a tidy-up. Remove any dead or damaged stems. Adjust the plant to fit its designated space.
  • Additional Care: Secure the stems to their supports and apply a layer of mulch to protect the roots and retain moisture.
  • Group 1 Clematis Examples: Clematis alpina, Clematis montana, Clematis armandii, Clematis napaulensis, Clematis macropetala, and Clematis cirrhosa.

Group 2 – Large-flowered

If your clematis boasts large flowers in early summer, it’s categorised under Pruning Group Two.

Group 2 - Clematis Maria Therese
Group 2 – Clematis Maria Therese
  • Pruning: These can be left largely unpruned. However, deadheading immediately after they bloom might stimulate further flowering. In late winter, trim away any dead or damaged stems. Prune lightly, working from the top of each stem downwards until you encounter a healthy bud.
  • Group 2 Clematis Examples: ‘Cezanne’, ‘Niobe’, ‘Nelly Moser’, ‘The President’ and ‘Maria Therese’.

Group 3 – Late Flowering

Clematis that flower later in the summer, around July or August, are part of Pruning Group Three.

Group 3 - Clematis Jackmanii
Group 3 – Clematis Jackmanii
  • Pruning: In late winter, prune these clematis types approximately 30-45cm from the ground, eliminating all the dead growth above. Always cut back to just above a robust new bud. For more vigorous plants, consider leaving one or two stems unpruned. This results in flowers appearing at varying heights.
  • Group 3 Clematis Examples: Clematis viticella, Clematis jackmanii, Clematis tangutica, and Clematis texensis.

Conclusion

Do you deadhead clematis? Well, as we mentioned, it is not a necessity but by removing those unsightly deadheads, you can help your clematis send its energy reserves to other parts of the plant that are still growing. If, however, you choose not to deadhead your clematis, you will be able to let the flower produce seeds that can be planted the following year.

3 Clematis Groups Infographic

Garden Doctor Tips

“Regardless of growth, do not prune your clematis until the second year. Immature clematis does not do well when pruned too early!”

“Deadhead your type 2 varieties as soon as the flowers fade to promote the growth of buds on the new wood!”

“Clematis flowers do well in full sun, but the base of the stem and roots do not so mulching can be a good idea all year round!”

“Ensure to check that the seeds inside the pod are brown, if they are still green, try again in a few days when they may be ready!”

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you deadhead clematis?

Deadhead clematis after the flowers have faded. By deadheading, you are allowing the plant to send the nutrients to other parts that are still growing ready for the next year’s growth.

Do clematis bloom more than once?

Group 2 clematis will bloom more than once in a growing season. They will bloom in the spring on old existing wood and then they will bloom again in late summer on the new wood.

How do you maintain a clematis?

Once established, clematis is relatively low maintenance although you may want to keep them in check by pruning. Deadheading is also advisable to prevent the flower from expending too much energy on producing seeds.


Author

Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.


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