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How to Plant Clematis in Zone 8

The USDA Hardiness Zone 8 runs like a ribbon around the U.S. coast. Examples of cities in this zone include Austin, Texas, Gainesville, Florida, Sacramento, California and Tifton, Georgia. The winters are usually warm, but the summers range from hot and humid to mild and dry. Clematis is a woody, deciduous vine, and most of its cultivars will grow in this zone. An old saying about clematis growth is, "The first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap." While it may take awhile for your clematis to get established, once it does it will wow you with its growth and beauty.

Choose a spot for your clematis that gets at least six hours of full sun. The ideal location is an eastern exposure, which will have some shade in the afternoon. Cultivars with red, blue or bi-colored flowers fade if they get too much sun.

Amend the soil in the planting area to a depth of two feet in an area about three feet wide. You can add compost or well-rotted manure, mixing it with the original soil.

Dig a hole that is slightly wider and slightly deeper than your plant's container. Remove the plant from the pot, gently tease apart the outer roots and place in the hole. Place your plant so that the crown is one to two inches below the surface.

Backfill with soil, tamp down firmly to remove air pockets and water thoroughly. Press down once more after watering.

Cut the stem back to 12 inches in height to help the plant branch as it begins to grow.

Place a two-inch layer of mulch over the plant's root area. Clematis like "cool feet." Another option is to shade the soil with a low groundcover, such as wooly thyme or ajuga.

Give your vine support with latticework, trellis or fencing. Supports must be thin, since clematis twines its leaves around a support and cannot grasp thick branches or heavy trellising.

Water deeply once a week in dry seasons–clematis needs at least one inch of water a week. Fertilize in the spring with a general fertilizer for flowering plants, but do not fertilize when the plant is blooming.


Most clematis do not compete well with large tree roots, with the exception of Anemone Clematis (C. montana) and Sweet Autumn Clematis (C. terniflora).

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