How to prune Group 1 Clematis

Julian Bosdari posted this on 18 Jul 2016

How to Prune Group 1 Clematis clematis

Group 1 Clematis are the easiest of the groups to prune. Group 1 (sometimes called Group A or Type A clematis) includes the Clematis species: alpina, armandii, cirrhosa, macropetala and montana.

These clematis all tend to be larger plants, but the reason that they are members of this group is because they bloom so early. There can be no flowers without buds and their early flowering means their flower buds were created the year before. In other words they flower on the wood of the previous year. So if you pruned them at any normal time, when they are dormant for example, you would remove the following year's flower buds and your group 1 clematis would be forever flowerless...

The general rule therefore when pruning Group 1 clematis is... DON'T. What you can do is to trim them lightly immediately after flowering. This prevents them putting energy into developing seed and so encourages new growth that will carry the flower buds for the following year.

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Occasionally a Group 1 clematis outgrows its allotted space. When this happens, you will need to cut out the offending shoots immediately after flowering. This is generally May, but the golden rule is "immediately after flowering and only if you really have to" as clematis in this group really do not like severe pruning. If possible try to phase these structural reductions over a period of 2-3 years as the shock of too drastic a prune can kill your montana....

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