Do you Deadhead Clematis?
Do you deadhead clematis and when should you deadhead clematis? Are some of the questions that clematis growers often ask. The simple answer is that it depends on the type of clematis that you are dealing with. The deadheading and pruning needs differ from one type of clematis to another.
It is important to note that the clematis vines bloom whether you prune them or not. However, deadheading and pruning clematis flowers properly help them thrive. Pruning and deadheading types that require it also helps have tidier vines which produce prolific blooms.
There are three groups of clematis classified according to their deadheading and pruning needs. The three groups are known as either 1, 2, and 3 or A, B, and C. The grouping is important because it is what indicates when and how the clematis should be deadheaded.
Identifying Clematis Deadheading Group
The pruning and deadheading groups of different clematis varieties are readily available online. When you know the variety all you have to do is search your clematis common or botanical name plus “pruning group.” Many of the clematis sellers clearly indicate the name of the clematis to the buyers.
However, if you aren’t aware of the name of your flower, you can determine it by yourself through observing when the plant blooms. Some of the things you will want to note include whether the plant flowers in the Spring or Fall? Does the plant flower on the previous year’s woody stems or current year’s green and fleshy stems? Does the plant produce a huge flush of flowers during Spring and sporadic blossoms during the rest of the season?
General Clematis Deadheading
After the first year of growth, all clematis are deadheaded the same way regardless of the group they belong to. You want to deadhead during late Winter or early Spring. Cut all the stems back to the ground to about 5 inches above the ground. It is expected that after the first deadheading, the plants won’t flower during the first year. Although it’s a sacrifice, the plant’s future growth improves because it produces bushier and stronger stems in the following years.
Another reason to deadhead all types of clematis is when they have become too heavy for their structure. You could also decide to deadhead them when their growth becomes unkempt.
Group One Clematis
This group doesn’t need any deadheading. They flower early in the season and produce huge flushes of blooms in April and May. As the plant grows, it may become unruly, tangled and unkempt, in which case you can trim the top and the sides.
You should avoid cutting the main stems at all costs. The plant doesn’t die back during Winter and throughout the year, the plant remains green or semi-green. Any form of pruning should be carried out when the flowers fade and not on any old wood.
Group Two Clematis
This group of clematis produces blossoms in May-August sort of mid-season. The flowers are produced primarily on old wood from the previous season. The plant should be pruned only when necessary. It can be done to remove dead wood, broken stems as well as to remove any tangles and shape the plant. Type 2 does flower less vigorously on new wood which can be seen in late summer.
Examples of group two varieties include the Nelly Moser, Belle of Woking, and Henryi. The varieties tend to be showy and have large blooms.
Group Three Clematis
This group of clematis requires deadheading every year. The varieties in this group are vigorous growers that require deadheading in early Spring. The plant’s flower in the later Summer and early Fall. The blooms are produced on the ends of new growth.
All the stems are cut back to between 8-12 inches off the ground. Examples of varieties in this group include the Jackmanii, Sweet Autumn Clematis, and Competesse de Bouchaud.
You should be aware that if you decide to deadhead the types 1 and 2, you will probably have delayed blooming for a whole year. Clematis flowers are generally low-maintenance and any pruning or deadheading should only be done when needed to promote growth and flowering.
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