How to Prune Clematis for Top to Bottom Blooms


Are you currently looking for a way to renovate spindly or overgrown clematis? If yes, you are at the right place then! The following is the guidance on renovating clematis blooming all from top to the bottom. The picture you will see below is Warsaw Nike Clematis that belongs to Group 3. In other words, the flower you find in the pictures below are Summer bloomer blooming on a new wood on into the fall.

Step 1: Cutting the Whole Top Back and Remove Other Plants

To begin pruning the clematis, you need to cut the whole top back. Cut it by a third. If you think you need a guideline for the cutting, you can use your porch floor as your guidelines. Make sure you cut across the clematis’ tangle of vines.

After you cut the whole top back of the clematis, you could see clearly which vines are from which canes from the bottom. Also, after the cutting, you could see the bottom part of the clematis that is near the ground along with the other plants overgrowing it. Remove the other plants then. Start yanking the other plants out and then tossing them into a compost bucket.

Step 2: Working with the Base

Next up, once you clear it up all away, you will start to see the base as shown in the first picture below. Then in the second picture below, it turns out that there are strong woody vines that are from the base.

They are five good strong vines and the other one is the limber one. In this step, you need to pull the skinny limber to the side so that you won’t cut it accidentally when you are working the pruners later.

Then cut the think ones back to ground and cut the 12-inch one from the ground. Doing this step will encourage the new growth lower on your clematis. This new growth is surely a good thing.

Step 3: Cutting the Canes

Next, you need to cut the canes at different lengths. For example, the center cane is cut at 3-ft long, the left one is a bit longer to let it go behind the trellis and come out at the porch floor’s base. Then the one on the right is made to snake over to back out around the trellis’ corner.

Cutting the canes at different lengths will enable you obtain new blooms and growth from the base of the plant all the way up to the plants’ top.

For this step, you may have heard some people recommending cutting the canes every three years but you could always sacrifice the cane’s height until the next year. It all depends on the way you enjoy your clematis.

Step 4: Layering

Look at the picture below! It may look not convincing but you could see some brownish leaves around the center. That is clematis rooting when it touches the ground. In this step, you need to dig that up and then replant that elsewhere after you severe the vine from the clematis’ mother plant.

This step is called layering. This kind of layering is actually similar to air layering that is done for propagating Rose. Once you are done with the layering, you are done with pruning your clematis. Wait until next summer to see how your newly renovated clematis is growing and doing.