Prune spring flowering clematis

Spring-flowering varieties need a chop.

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Spring flowering clematis are always a welcome sight with their scrambling habit and masses of flowers. There are several different types of clematis that flower in spring such as the very popular Clematis montana that flowers through May with white, pale pink or deep pink flower, depending on which cultivar you are growing. Other spring flowering types include the lovely Clematis alpina and C. macropetala, both of which have bell-shaped flowers in various shades of blue and C. armandii, a vigorous evergreen variety with its dark green glossy foliage and small saucer-shaped flowers in early spring.

All of the spring flowering types produce their flowers on the previous season’s growth and are in flowering group 1, which means any pruning is carried out after flowering. This then gives the plant all summer to make new growth that will flower next spring. These early types also tend to be vigorous and in just a few years they can grow into a very large plant, so a little annual pruning at this time of the year will help to keep the plant manageable and under control. For annual pruning to maintain a shape or the size of the plant, aim to cut back the old flowered wood, but if the plant is getting a little too large, prune back a little harder.