Life is complicated enough and it can be hard to remember when and how you should prune your clematis. Hey, you probably don’t even remember the variety name and so looking it up is out of the question. Well, luckily, there is a very simply trick: watch and remember when your clematis blooms in order to know when you should prune.

Clematis fall into three basic pruning groups primarily based on when they bloom.

Spring Blooming Clematis (Pruning Group 1):
If your clematis blooms in the spring, then it will have already formed its buds in the fall and therefore you should only prune after it blooms in the spring. If you prune late in the season or before it blooms in the spring, you may be pruning away some of its blooms.

Spring Blooming Clematis with Intermittent Blooms throughout the summer (Pruning Group 2):
If the bulk of the blooms on your clematis are produced early but then it continues to produce into the season, then your clematis most likely blooms on both old wood (growth produced the previous season) and new wood (growth produced this season). These clematis should be pruned rarely – only deadwood pruning in early spring after leaf buds have emerged slightly.

Summer Blooming Clematis (Pruning Group 3):
Clematis vines that produce blooms later into the summer bloom on new wood (growth created in the current season) and should be pruned back severely in late winter while dormant. Failure to prune this type of clematis can lead to the production of long ‘legs’ or woody vines bereft of foliage and flowers.