How to Plant Clematis

Overview

The beautiful climbing clematis can be grown to cover walls, decorate entryways, or extend over archways. From salad plate sized flowers with striking graceful lines, to delicate trumpets reaching downward, many gardeners choose to grow clematis because of the many varieties available. A gardener could grow more than 100 clematis plants and still have no two plants alike. Luckily, it is as easy to plant clematis as it is to look at the multiple colors available to shower your yard with color.

Step 1

Select the growing location for your clematis. You'll want a planting site which receives at least five to six hours of sunlight per day and has a climbing support in place. Clematis can climb naturally up roses, bamboo, and other woody plants, or you can construct a trellis out of lattice and a good foundational frame.

Step 2

Prepare your soil by digging a hole twice as wide and deep as the pot your clematis is in. Set the removed soil aside on the tarp or wheelbarrow for later use. Clematis can be planted at any time of the year, unless the soil is very wet or frozen. Mid autumn is the best time since autumn rains can supply your new plant with warm, moist soil to grow in.

Step 3

Check the consistency of your soil. Loamy, well draining soil is best, so add any garden compost or well-rotted manure to your soil if it is sandy. Add sand or grit if the soil seems too much like clay.

Step 4

Scrape a garden fork along the sides and bottom of the hole to loosen the soil and prepare it for the clematis roots. Fill in the base of the hole with 4 inches of compost or manure, followed by 2 inches of peat.

Step 5

Place your potted clematis in the bucket and fill it with water. Allow the plant to soak for 10 to 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary to keep the entire pot immersed. While clematis is sometimes sold as a bulb, the potted clematis' roots are much more established and better prepared to survive outdoor planting.

Step 6

Work the plant and its supporting cane out of the pot carefully. Loosen the roots along the bottom of the root ball gently.

Step 7

Set the plant into the hole with the top edge of the root ball at ground level or an inch below it. Fill in the hole with the soil mixture from the tarp or wheelbarrow and gently firm it around the plant.

Step 8

Give the plant at least a gallon of water after planting and continue to water it as needed to keep the soil moist, but not saturated. After the first month you should be able to back off manual watering so long as your region does not experience drought.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not forget to add the peat layer before planting your clematis or the roots of your plant may be burned by the manure or compost.

Things You'll Need

  • Trellis, if necessary
  • Shovel
  • Small tarp or wheelbarrow
  • Compost, manure, sand, or grit, as needed
  • Garden fork
  • Peat or peat substitute
  • Large bucket
  • Water

References

  • An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Clematis; Mary Toomey, Everett Leeds; 2001
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About this Author

Writing from Virginia, Margaret Telsch-Williams specializes in personal finance, money management, gardening, crafts and sewing, cooking, DIY projects and travel. When not writing instructional articles online, she works for the website Widescreen Warrior as a contributor and podcast co-host discussing all things film and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a master's degree in writing.