Helpful tips on clematis planting

Clematis can be huge and sprawling, covering 16-feet of arbor or fence, or dainty and delicate, draping over the edge of a large pot.

Many people are attracted to the large flowered variety that bloom now, with names like Nellie Moser, (pink with a carmine bar) or The President (royal blue) and many shades in between. If you purchase a pot outside your local grocery or from your nursery it is usually because it was in flower, or you liked the picture on the tag. Keep it for pruning reference.

Whatever your choice of colour, remember all types of clematis benefit from the same planting method.

Do not break the upright stem anywhere. Remove the stake very carefully and note that it is often stapled to the pot.

Make your hole deeper than the pot, as you want to cover at least two to four inches of the stem in good soil so more growing shoots sprout. Add lots of compost and manure this year and you will get more flowers next year.

Place the roots under the drip line of the tree or shrub you want it to scramble up - not near the trunk where the bigger plant will suck nutrients away. Use a lattice, string or pole to guide the main stem up into the tree or shrub. Likewise put the pot at least eight inches away from a fence or wall, so roots have room to expand. Water well and keep all weed eaters and clippers away from the fragile stems.

Editor’s note: This is another installment of a weekly on-line feature from the South Delta Garden Club which runs on the Optimist website every Tuesday.

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