Clematis are one of the most popular climbers that we grow in our gardens and the range of different types is huge. With just a little planning it’s possible to have clematis in flower for much of year, from mid-winter through until late autumn. Flowers come in all shapes, colours and sizes and the foliage also varies, with some varieties being evergreen.
Clematis are divided into three groups, depending on when they flower in the year. As a guide, Group One flower from mid-winter to mid-spring, Group Two from late-spring to mid-summer and Group Three, from late summer into autumn. The group the clematis are in also determines when the plants should be pruned, so even if you don’t know the name of your clematis or have lost the label, by noting when it flowers, you can easily tell what group it’s in and when to prune.
For group three clematis such as ‘Jackmanii’, C. texensis, C. viticella, C. tangutica and the other late flowering hybrids, we prune in late winter, before new growth starts. This is because they flower on the current season’s growth, meaning all the new shoots made this spring and summer will produce flower buds. Pruning of group three clematis is very easy and is simply a case of cutting the plants back hard.