How to Care for a Clematis Plant


Clematis plants take several years to get established and are very fragile until they do. After the plant is established, however, it will quickly grow and sometimes overtake an entire area. To care for you clematis plant properly and to keep it under control, it must be cut back or pruned annually. It root system must also always have a liberal amount of ground cover such as mulch, bark or rocks. Depending on the variety, clematis requires locations with full or partial sun.

How To Care for a Clematis Plant

Step 1

Avoid disturbing the roots when working around the clematis plant, because the roots can become temperamental. Proper ground cover, such as mulch, bark or rocks should measure at least 2 to 3 inches thick. This provides protection for the roots as well as keeping them insulated and cool.

Step 2

Provide a trellis to offer support to the climbing tendrils. Clematis is not a wall-crawling plant like ivy, but it does need support to keep it tame. The height of the trellis should be at least 5 feet.

Step 3

Keep the soil moist during the first year or two after planting. During the winter months, the plant is dormant and should receive enough moisture due to rainfall and snow.

Step 4

Fertilize the plant with a multi-purpose plant food, such as Miracle-Gro. Use according to package directions at least once a month from early spring to late fall.

Step 5

Cut back the vine during the winter months while the plant is dormant, at least 24 to 36 inches from the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Trellis system
  • Ground cover
  • Multi-purpose fertilizer
  • Pruning shears


  • Paradise Garden: Clematis Care

Who Can Help

  • USDA Planting Zones
Keywords: vining plants, clematis care, clematis flowers