Pink Clematis

Pruning your Clematis Montana is an essential part of its care. If it is not done, then you may find that your plant ends up with tangled stems and looks more like an unsightly mess than the beautiful floral display you had hoped for.

But since Clematis are categorised into various groups, it can be difficult to know how to prune each one. So, what do you do when it comes to pruning a Clematis Montana?

The Clematis Montana is a deciduous plant that is native to the Himalayan regions, Tibet and China. However, they are commonly grown in UK gardens and pruning involves cutting the plant back during the springtime.

There is, of course, much more to think about rather than just getting a little too snippy with the secateurs. The following information will provide you with everything you need to know about these glorious blooms and how to take care of them.

What Is Clematis Montana?

Clematis is a type of climbing plant and the Clematis Montana or Mountain Clematis is a popular choice for UK gardens thanks to the plant’s ability to thrive outside of its native regions. While these plants are susceptible to various diseases including clematis wilt and mildew, when properly cared for, they will flower year after year from the previous season’s growth.

Clematis plants are subdivided into groups owing to the fact that there are so many varieties. Each of these groups relates to how the plant should be pruned and so it is important to know which group your plant falls into. In the case of Clematis Montana, it is in group 1.

Group 1 clematis including Montana will flower from late winter into early spring. There is a lot of debate over how much they need to be pruned but as a general rule of thumb, they really don’t need much. They flower from the growth of the previous season.

How To Prune Clematis Montana

Before we begin to look at how you should prune your Clematis Montana, it is important to know why we must do it. While plants in group 1 tend to need the least amount of pruning, some care is required to prevent the stems from becoming heavily tangled.

One of the biggest problems that an unpruned Clematis Montana will display is flower placement. Typically, you will want even blooms across the entire plant and this is possible when they are well-maintained. However, the moment you leave them to go wild, you will notice that most of the blooms are contained to the uppermost part of the plant with the base being relatively bare.

It is also important to think about the correct time of year for pruning with plants in the group benefitting most when pruned in mid to late spring. This allows the plant to fully flower in late winter and early spring before you begin working on it. In addition to this, by the end of spring, any chance of a late frost will mostly have passed which makes the process much safer for your plant.

Pruning New Clematis Montana

The age of your plant will have a significant bearing on how heavily it should be pruned. For young plants, the first spring will require quite a lot of harsh pruning. Typically, if this is not done, you’ll likely only end up with one or two stems. The flowers will normally bloom at the tops and the plant won’t look as you had intended.

For young plants with one or two stems, you will need to cut back at least 12 inches above the soil level. Make sure to cut above a healthy pair of leaf buds to encourage the best future growth. Additionally, you should remember to tie in any new growth throughout the summer and space the stems evenly.

However, there is an exception to this. If the plant makes it through its first spring with three or four stems, you can expect that it is developing well and you won’t need to do such hard pruning.

Pruning An Established Clematis Montana

If your clematis has thrived through its first season, your approach to pruning will need to be slightly different. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your plant won’t need a massive amount of pruning so always use your initiative and common sense when it comes to choosing what needs to be done.

In most cases, an established Clematis Montana will be a vigorous and hardy plant that will need nothing more than light shearing. Again, this will need to be done after the plant has finished flowering in mid to late spring.

How to Prune An Old Clematis Montana

We have all been there; a plant that once did very well begins to look lacklustre and your fear that it won’t be long before you are having to say goodbye to it. The good news is that Clematis Montana can be easily renovated and brought back to excellent condition.

If you have a serious situation in terms of very tangled stems, you may have your work cut out for you but a little patience can go a long way, so stick with it.

Begin by cutting each of the stems back as much as possible. It is best to cut them almost to their base and while this might seem a little extreme, your plant will thank you in the long run. Once again, you should avoid doing this until at least the middle of spring when the plant has finished flowering.

Next, you will need to add a decent amount of organic fertiliser or mulch to the base of the plant and make sure that you give it a good supply of water. The plant will begin to regrow but it is important that now, you leave nature to work its magic. It may take a few years before the plant needs good pruning again but in most cases, you can feel confident that leaving it for three years without hard pruning will yield the best results.


Clematis Montana is one of the clematis plants classified under group 1 for pruning. These plants will do relatively well with minimal pruning and as such, you should err on the side of caution when cutting them back. Pruning should always be done in the middle of spring up until the end of spring after the plant has had a chance to flower.

Depending on the age of the plant and its current condition, you may need to perform hard pruning. However, for the most part, simply cutting back dead leaves and giving the plant a little trim will be more than sufficient.

Garden Doctor Trev

Garden Doctor Tips

“Prune established Clematis Montana in late spring for best results!”

“To encourage growth in young clematis, prune hard the first spring!”

“To revive your old Montana, prune hard almost back to the ground – the results will surprise you!”

“Ensure that your secateurs are clean before pruning. You don’t want to damage your plant!”

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I cut back my Clematis Montana?

Clematis Montana is a climbing plant with heart-shaped leaves and beautiful purple flowers that can be found in many gardens. They are also known as the virgin’s bower because they look like the headdress of a Roman Catholic nun. The Clematis vine will produce more blossoms if it has plenty of sun, but too much sun or water will cause them to wilt and die. It is best to prune Montana in mid to late spring.

Can you cut back Clematis Montana?

Clematis Montana is a large, woody plant that can grow up to 30 feet. It has fragrant flowers that appear in the springtime and are followed by attractive seed pods.
Despite its size, this plant does not require much care or maintenance other than cutting back the old stems and pruning out any dead branches.

How do you look after Montana clematis?

The genus of Montana clematis is a temperate, deciduous vine that grows best in zones 3-6. This plant is known for its beautiful, bell-shaped flowers and usually blooms in the summer months. The care for this plant isn’t too difficult but there are some things to keep an eye on such as watering frequency, fertilizing schedule, and pruning back any dead or damaged stems or leaves from the plant’s foliage area.

About Me

Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.

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