‘Golden rule’ for planting clematis in your garden – when to do it

Gardeners' World: Monty Don gives advice on planting clematis

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Clematis are grown for their beautiful flowers though they are notoriously high maintenance, with regular pruning required to keep the striking flowerheads productive. As well as needing ongoing care to look their best, all types of this hardy, vigorous plant share one common requirement when first planted to get off to a “good start”. Here’s the best time to plant a clematis in your garden and exactly how to master the technique.

A gardening expert at the Sunday Gardener said: “The golden rule when planting a clematis is to make sure that the root ball sits at least 5cm below the soil level.

“This is beneficial to the plant and helps to stop Clematis wilt.”

To get the planting depth right, start by digging a hole comfortably larger than the pot it comes in.

Once the planting position is clear, prepare the soil by breaking up the compact clumps.

According to the Sunday Gardener, this will make it easier for the roots to grow into the ground.

They explained that the “easiest way” to judge the depth is to use a bamboo cane as a guide.

Simply lay the cane across the hole so you can see the line of the soil depth.

The Sunday Gardener said: “Check the clematis is at least 5cm below the soil level. Fill in, water and protect young growth from slugs.”

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This specific planting depth applies to all types of clematis, including herbaceous varieties and climbers.

In addition to mastering the depth, the planting position is also important to secure beautiful flowers.

Most varieties do well if their roots are shaded, while the rest of the plant prefers the sun.

The Sunday Gardener recommended protecting the roots using the leaves of adjacent plants. Hostas work well, though slate and mulch are good alternatives.

When to plant clematis

Clematis aren’t the easiest to maintain with regular pruning requirements though they are easy to plant.

Not only is it a simple process, but there is also plenty of time to do it throughout the year.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the best time to plant clematis is in spring or early-to mid-autumn, as warm, moist soil at these times of the year “aids good root establishment”.

However, it is possible to plant a clematis in summer and autumn too.

The RHS added: “You can plant clematis at other times, but avoid planting in waterlogged or frozen soil and during periods of drought.”

When it comes to choosing the perfect variety for your garden, there are a few things to consider.

Clematis montana, C.alpina and C.macropetala are the easiest to grow, as they need little to no pruning, unlike most types.

For a sweet vanilla fragrance, clematis montana “Elizabeth” is ideal.

Allowing plenty of space for vigorous clematis plants to grow is always beneficial for a sprawling display of flowers.

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