The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Need some help with Clematis


By Mikec

Springfield, Massachusetts , United States Us

Hi everyone,

I have five different Clematis vines in my back garden that are planted in different locations. Except for a new one this year ( Nelly Moser ) they have been planted in my garden for about four years. Each year they come up and bloom but I don't get too many flowers and compared to a lot of Clematis photos that I've seen in GOY they are not nice and bushy with a lot of leaves. One Clematis in particular " Dr. Ruppel " almost always gets clematis droop and that's the end of it for the season. I'm wondering if maybe I have them planted in the wrong locations. They all get a good deal of sun and I have the base of them protected with decomposing leaves and the ground is also shaded from other plants close by. I've also wondered if it is fertilizing. How often should I be fertilizing them and with what ? I have no problems with moving them to new locations if that would help. I've never moved one that has been in the ground for more than 3 or 4 years so I don't know how they take to being moved. I do have one exception to whats happening. I have an Atumn Sweet Clematis that grows like crazy each year to the point where I have to cut it back a lot. Every year in early fall it's loaded with flowers. Two of my problem Clematis are planted very close to it getting the same light exposure.Thank you in advance to any of you who can help...



Dr. Ruppel seems to be especially prone to clematis wilt, I have trouble with that one too. You don't give the varieties of the others, but are you pruning them correctly? This does make a big difference to flowering and the way the plant looks. Can't answer you without knowing which varieties/species you've got, and I mean the full Latin names. Sounds like you've got the planting right, heads in the sun, feet in the shade. More info please

19 May, 2009


Nelly Moser prefers a bit of shade, Mike. As Mims2 says, we really need some extra info to make helpful suggestions...or photos?

19 May, 2009


Thanks to both of you for your replies. I'm on my way to work shortly so I can't give you Latin names as my plant tags don't have them so I would have to look them up. The names I do have are Multi Blue, Dr. Ruppel, Madam Grange, Nelly Moser and one that I don't know the name of. As far as pruning goes. Except for the Autumn Sweet Clematis all of them grow back from the ground each year. The old growth does not survive the winters. Remember that we have very cold winters here with a lot of snow and for a long period compared to the winters in the UK. So the only one that I prune is the Autumn Clematis. Any thoughts on fertilizing and how frequently ? It is very possible that I might not have fertilized them as often as I should. Thanks again for your help.

19 May, 2009


Hello again... Forgot to ask...

Barbara, Does Nelly Moser prefer a bit of shade because a lot of sun will fade the colors of the flowers ? If so then a location with morning sun and then shade from early to mid afternoon would be good ?

I remember seeing the photo of the front of your house with your Clematis growing all over it. The only Clematis that would grow long like that here would be the Autumn Sweet Clematis. A Montana would die back to the ground each year and would only grow to about 10 feet. Thanks again for your help...

19 May, 2009


Answer: Yes! She does fade in the sun, Mike and that position might well suit her.

I give all my clematis a feed of blood, fish and bone in early spring, then a liquid feed monthly while they are in growth. Does that help?

19 May, 2009


It sure does help Barbara. I've never done blood, fish and bone for them and I think I'm guilty of not liquid feeding them as often as I should. I will get to feeding them regularly for sure as I think that's what they most likely need. I'm going to move Nelly Moser to the new location tomorrow. She will share an arbor that I have a climbing rose on named Berries and Cream. It's a light shade of pink with a rose stripe going through. Very similar to Nelly so it might be very interesting. On the other side of the arbor is my climbing Hydrangea. Thanks again very much for your help.

20 May, 2009


You're welcome, Mike. :-) Hope it works!

20 May, 2009


I adore Clematis and have quite a few in my front and back garden.
I've always found that cutting them back will always promote bushiness and flowering.
They are a lot hardier than people think and they should tolerate most positions. Shaded roots are good, if yours are grown through other plants and shrubs the foliage of those plants is perfect for the Clematis.
Maybe a hard prune is all that's needed ?

21 May, 2009


HI Louise... Thanks for your comment. As mentioned I don't prune them because they come up from the ground each spring. The previous years growth always dies back completely. Since posting this question I have given them all a good feeding and I can already see a big difference.

21 May, 2009


Wow that's good Mike.
I confess i've never fed mine, if yours have made that much of a difference i think i will ! Thanks !

21 May, 2009


Just in a week's time they seem to have greened up a lot and they also seem to be growing faster than they were. Spritzhenri mentioned that she does blood, fish and bone in the early spring. I picked up a bottle of fish emulsion fertilizer and that's what I fed them with.

21 May, 2009

How do I say thanks?

Answer question

Related photos

  • The President
  • Favorite clematis  (Clematis 'Josephine')
  • Miss Bateman
  • Close-up of pergola and Clematis armandii

Related blogs

Related products


Related questions

Not found an answer?