Industry Articles

Clematis Care: 4 Things You Should Know

Clematis care can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it, depending on where you live and the relative hardiness of a given variety in your area. These vining plants require at least three and usually four types of care if they are to thrive. The varieties of care are cool and moist (but not wet) roots, sun on the stems and leaves, something to climb, and, of course, well-prepared soil.

There are at least 200 varieties of this plant available to growers in the United States. A few of these varieties are native to North America, but most are native to Europe or Asia. You can find both evergreen and deciduous types plus a few varieties that will remain evergreen in warmer climates, can thrive in cooler climates, but will shed their leaves as winter approaches. Not all of the different varieties of climbing vines bloom at the same time, which can sometimes make it worthwhile to have several different varieties growing in a large garden area. The majority bloom only once a year, with some of them blooming during the spring and others in the summer or fall. The blossoms themselves are almost as varied as the plant. Some are large and some are small. They come in bright reds, purples, pinks, yellows and whites. A few varieties feature bi-colored blossoms with stripes, others have fringes that contrast with the blossom’s primary colour.

Requirements for Success

Assuming you have a sunny location to place one of these plants, the soil is relatively rich and definitely well trained, and you have a trellis or some other arrangement for the vines to climb, you are set to go. There are a few other important clematis care details, however, some of which can make the difference of how tall it will grow, how profusely it will bloom, or even life or death to your plant.


Spring Hill Nurseries’ Step-by-Step Gardening series presents a video on how to care for Clematis.

Care of the Roots –It has already been mentioned that the roots need to be kept cool and moist but not wet. Most varieties of this plant have an extensive but somewhat shallow root system, so you’ll need to give the plant a little room to grow without having to compete with too many other plants. Very often the roots nearest the stem or stems of the plant are partially or totally exposed. These exposed roots need to be protected from the hot sun or they can get sunburned and possibly affect the health of the plant as a whole. Placing mulch consisting of material that will not collect an excessive amount of water on top of the roots is good. The mulch should not come into direct contact with the stems. Some gardeners place light, flat rocks around the base of the plant to shelter the roots from the sun without crushing them.

 

Staking and Support – Newly planted vines should be staked unless they are planted directly under a trellis and are able to climb the trellis on their own. If you don’t have a trellis or don’t wish to install one, these plants will grow up around a post or along a section of fence with the help of wire, string, or a few strategically placed cup hooks. Once a vine has reached something it can hang onto, it will usually hold on fiercely while stretching to reach the next supportive hold.

 

Soil Preparation – A good practice to follow when first planting a clematis vine is to throw a handful or two of lime into the planting hole. Some nurseries stock small bags of specially prepared clematis lime for this purpose. Regular garden soils, even those of questionable quality, can be mixed with sand, bark, and aged compost to make an excellent starter soil. These vines do need occasional fertilising, and application of compost or aged manure around the plant every spring is also advisable.

 

Pruning – There is no one way to prune these climbing vines. Proper pruning procedure of Clematis depends upon the particular variety. Some need to be pruned back to the ground every fall to perform at their best during the following growing season. Some other varieties will grow if pruned back to the ground, but will not produce blossoms since they are varieties that produce blossoms on the previous year’s growth. Some of these climbing vines need only be pruned to remove weak, diseased, or dead branches or to control their height or spread. A few varieties can become invasive if not kept under control. If you plant one of these varieties, you may constantly find new plants emerging quite a few feet from the parent plant, as sprouting can occur wherever the roots are allowed to go.

A One-Time Haircut

If there is such a thing as a common pruning procedure, it is one of pruning the plant back to about a foot or so above the ground following the first year of growth. While some varieties can be pruned back entirely, many varieties that don’t require a great deal of pruning will benefit from this first haircut by forming stronger root systems and more shoots the following year. These will in turn produce more branches and more blooms later in the season.

Pruning Categories

In summary, clematis care is mostly the same for all varieties. The exception is how they are pruned. Insofar as pruning is concerned, each of the 200 or more varieties will fall within one of three categories:

  • Those varieties that produce blooms on the previous year’s growth: these are varieties you generally won’t need to or won’t want to prune too severely, if at all.
  • Those varieties that produce blooms on the previous season’s growth and yield a second set of blooms on the new growth: these plants will still produce blooms if cut back, but will produce more blooms and two sets of blooms if pruned only lightly.
  • Those varieties that are pruned back to the ground at the end of every season: these, of course, only set blossoms on new growth. The varieties in this category are by and large the most vigorous of the different varieties and tend to require the least care. Unless they are able to grow evergreen varieties, most gardeners prefer plants that can be cut back in the fall, as they are not all that attractive to look at during the winter months and will tend to become unruly in appearance if new growth is permitted to grow on old growth.

Finally, if you insist on giving your plant constant care and attention, which some believe a plant appreciates, you can spend a little time pinching back some of the new buds that have started to take off. This practice will often cause the plant to form additional branches, making it bushier, with a wider spread, and blooming more profusely. With adequate care, one of these climbing vines can be a regular feature in your garden for many years.

Industry Articles

Landscapers in Melbourne – Find one or Be the one!

Year by year, landscaping is becoming more and more popular in Melbourne. It’s more than just planting flowers and picking a type for grass to grow. It’s an art. While some people consider it a hobby, for others it is their job. Landscapers in Melbourne are now a large group of garden lovers. They do believe that a beautiful garden is indeed important!

Professional landscapers

Many people never needed to redesign their gardens. They may never have heard of landscaping. It doesn’t mean that professional landscapers are hard to find! In fact, every trustworthy group of landscapers in Melbourne has its professional website. To get familiar with their offers, it is enough to open the browser and check the search results. At the moment, the Internet is the easiest way to find the professionals you need.

Hiring a professional landscaping company is the quickest way to redesign a garden. What is most important, they employ people with years of experience in the field. Hiring them guarantees the effect that will amaze your guests and neighbors. Professional landscapers in Melbourne know which features will or won’t work. Usually, they are in touch with suppliers who will provide you with the best of materials you need.

DIY landscaping

Professional landscaping is not an option for everybody. There are plenty of people who will never want a stranger to arrange their gardens. DIY landscaping is a solution for hobbyist gardeners who find pleasure in this kind of work. Currently, the gardening magazines and websites offer countless ideas for landscaping. What’s more, designing the garden individually lowers the final cost.

Despite that, DIY landscapers in Melbourne must remember a few pitfalls. First of all, the size of the space to design is crucial. Not every feature will fit in and use of every square meter has to be well-thought. Some features won’t go well with one another and a good taste in what we pick is mandatory. Beginner DIY landscapers also seem to forget about how important the maintenance is. Not everything you can buy is practical in the long run. Before you start working, do your research to make sure you won’t regret your choices.

What do I pick?

There isn’t only one right answer to this question as DIY and professional landscaping in Melbourne are both popular. Both give great possibilities and both work just fine. Choosing the way to landscape is entirely up to the owner and whether they want to be a landscaper, or to hire one.

Industry Articles

Showcase Your Trees & Shrubs – Mulch

Mulch seems to be everywhere you look, banks, gas stations, hospitals, factories, schools and of course homes. It was not too long ago that most people let their lawns surround there trees and shrubs, now there are sea shells and colored wood framing all sorts of plants and buildings. It is the invasion of mulch and the Art of Mulching is now a profession.

Mulch comes in organic and non-organic materials both with pros and cons. Usually for the home the organic types are used but if you have huge areas to maintain then non-organic mulch maybe be the way to go.

Use mulch around your flower beds to add a distinctive contrast and really make the flowers pop. You can make the sides of your walkways or driveway stand out with even just a few inches of a quality coloured mulch. Mulch contrasts well with just about anything you want to highlight in your yard. Mulch can make bricks, pavers, lawns, fountains, patios, trees, bushes and hedges look great.

Homeowners should consider shredded bark mulch, which will hold its colour longer than solid wood chips but doesn’t take as long to break down and become soil.

Bark Mulch is one of the most popular mulches around, because it looks so great once you put it down. It is also an excellent choice when it comes to water conservation, since it provides a solid barrier against moisture evaporation. The one downside of this mulch is its size. Most bark mulch comes in large chips, which decompose slowly. If you can find bark that’s been shredded, go that route. Shredded bark will not only trap moisture in your flower beds better than large chips, but since it decomposes quicker, it more readily adds nutrients to the soil as well.

Which Type of Wood Mulch Is Best for Me?

With a wide range of wood based mulch to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which type to lay down over your garden beds. Here’s a list of the most common types, and why, or why not, you should choose these mulches for your landscaping needs.

Bark Mulch Varieties
Red Oak Bark Mulch
Contrasts Nicely With Green Grass, But not Recommended On Steep Slopes

Pine Bark Mulch.
Pine Bark Mulch is slow to decompose generally lasting a year or more. Pine Bark Mulch can be purchased in different sizes. Large chunks can float away from the mulched surface. May lower soil pH slightly.

Cypress Bark Mulch.
Attractive-looking, inexpensive and long-lasting. Chips are easy to apply. Many experts do not recommend using Cypress Mulch because its harvest depletes cypress wetlands.

Eucalyptus Bark Mulch
Hold colour for a long time. Expensive If Imported

Cedar Bark Mulch.
Wood has natural oils that repel insects, But may cost a bit more initially.

Hemlock Bark Mulch
Long lasting with a natural reddish brown colour, However some People don’t like the Darkening Colour it produces over time.

Mulch & Pests

Whether you choose bark mulch, or another variety, it’s important that you take into consideration the prevalence of wood boring pests in your area before you purchase. Termites, for example, prefer to munch on dead wood, and wood based mulch is a favorite feeding ground. If you live in an area where termites are commonplace, it’s probably a good idea to talk to a pest control contractor or landscaping contractor before making your purchase. It can be the difference between a maintenance free landscape, and one that causes scores of headaches and larger problems down the road. If termites are not a problem in your area, wood mulch is about the best investment you can make when it comes to landscaping. You’ll be getting one of the best looking, and performing, mulches on the market.