Clematis montana produces blooms as one of the earliest blooming clematis in this family of flowering vine plants. This plant thrives in well-drained, rich soil. Clematis montana prefers partial sun and can tolerate more shade in hotter climates. This lovely pale pink flowering vine generally blooms sometime between March and May. Pruning clematis montana requires consideration for the blooming time of this plant. For maximum benefit, prune clematis montana immediately after the blooming cycle ends.
Check the status of your plant during the blooming period. These plants should exhibit abundant blooms occurring throughout the plant. If you notice fewer blooms than previous years, consider a heavier pruning session to eliminate old growth and encourage new vine production. Prune as late as early July, but for best results, trim back the clematis montana immediately after the plant finishes blooming for the season.
Decide which type of pruning best suits the plant. Thinning involves removing old wood, dead leaves and spent vines. Rejuvenation pruning takes the plant down to the ground to create a new set of vines.
Carefully select vines that appear leggy with sparse leaves and flowers. Find the end of the vine first and work backward toward the main stem of the plant to choose the spot for cutting.
Use sharp pruning clippers to prune each vine back to the bud closest to the main vine. This type of clematis blooms on one year-old wood grown during the previous year. Cuts should be made at a 45-degree angle just slightly above the bud. The lowest point of the 45-degree angle should be immediately above the bud. In instances of two buds, cut straight across as close as possible to the buds.
Clip the plant back to 6 inches from the ground for rejuvenation pruning. All new growth will appear during the summer growing season. Foliage and blooms may be diminished the following year, but the plant will revive and bloom abundantly the year after. Most clematis montana plants require major rejuvenation pruning every 3 to 5 years for best foliage and blooming results.