Clematis Diary

Some of the viticella sp. will still be flowering, early flowering hybrids will be having their second flush. The prime time for planting. Clematis are available for mail order from 26th April. The ground remains warm for some time yet and rooting into garden soil will be made easy. Towards the end of the season apply a 15cm mulch of well rotted manure or compost to the root area, the winter rains will soak a feed into the ground ready for spring when growth starts.

The cirrhosas should be looking good with the onset of cooler weather, give them a liquid feed now. Apply manure to the root area of all clematis if you haven't done so already. If you neglect this mulching you may deprive your garden of a superior show of flowers. In late winter shoots will start to appear from the ground at the base of plants, be careful when working around them. Snail & slug deterrents may be necessary. Liquid feed the evergreen armandii's now for a great show in spring.

You may need to tie up new clematis shoots, be careful, they break easily from the old wood, it is best to wait until they are 50cm long. Commence a spray programme using a systemic fungicide each fortnight for two months. Some serious liquid feeding is required now to ensure the ground is damp with nutrients to at least 40cm down, apply each week until the buds are the size of a large pea then cease liquid feed until flowering has finished. If there is little or no protection for the roots of your clematis provide a good depth mulch such as a compost, manure, straw, pebbles, rock, pea straw, broken concrete, etc... to help retain moisture. From mid spring onwards is the best time to visit the nursery to see large display plants flowering.

The dry time. It's very important to ensure your clematis has sufficient water, it may be necessary to give plants a good soaking every second day, depending on weather. Mid season large flowered hybrids will start flowering early summer. Early spring flowering hybrids will have finished flowering now, lightly prune and start liquid feed again for another crop of flowers in autumn. The viticella's hit the colour button mid summer to early autumn.

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