Clematis is a beautiful flowering vine that can add a touch of elegance and charm to any container. Growing clematis in containers is becoming increasingly popular due to the many benefits it offers. Containers provide flexibility in terms of size, location, and design. There are several reasons why you should consider growing clematis in containers; including its easy maintenance, ability to thrive in small spaces, and that it does not take up much space because it can be trained to grow vertically. With proper care, you can enjoy the beauty of these flowering vines for many years.

Here is how to get started growing your clematis in a container:

Container Selection – Select a ceramic, terracotta, or wooden container to plant your clematis. Do not use a plastic container. They heat up the plant too much in the summer because they lack insulation. Clematis like to have their roots cool.  It is also vital the container has proper drainage holes in the bottom.  If the water can’t drain, the plant roots can rot. The best size for the container would be a pot that is at least 18 inches across and deep.  It makes it easier to add other plants, prune them when necessary, and water the plant. Before you put the plant in the container, put in one to two inches of pebbles. Put compost and soil on top of the pebbles to create a firm base on the bottom.

Clematis Selection - While all types of clematis can be grown in containers, some varieties are better suited than others.  There is the Boulevard Series, which has been bred to have a more compact habit, longer flowering, and they are easier to prune. These vines grow 3 to 6 feet.  If you buy your plant at a gardening center or nursery, do not hesitate to ask them to help you to find the right one.

Planting Your Clematis – Clematis likes water, so before you remove your plant from the likely quart container it comes in, soak the entire plant in its pot in a bucket of water for about 20 minutes. The root system ball will soak up the water. While the roots might not look dry, it is common to find that they are. It is also likely that you will not be able to get the root ball wet by just watering it in the container. This is one of the most important steps to having your plant grow successfully.

Take the clematis out of its pot and put it in the container. It is important to make sure the root ball sits 2.5 inches deeper than it was planted in the nursery pot.  This is important to do as it offers the root ball protection from clematis wilt, a stem rot/leaf spot disease caused by a fungus, a cold winter, and/or pests. Next, put more soil in the container and firm it down around the plant. Do not fill the soil to the top of the container. Leave some space so that when you water the plant, the soil does not splash out of the top of the container.

If you have a large enough container, you can plant annuals or perennials around the clematis. Look for plants that can cascade over the side of the container.  If you use annual plants, it will enable you to change your color scheme every year. These plants can also aid in keeping the roots of the clematis cool.

Once the clematis is planted you can add a metal trellis or other type of support to the container. If your plant came with a bamboo or wooden trellis, it is most likely it will not be tall enough for the plant.  You can take out the trellis that came with the plant or just leave it for now. If you leave it in, you can tie it to the taller trellis or different support that you added.

The fall is the best time to move the plant indoors or to a storage area. The flower and leaves will have started to die off.  Your climate zone will dictate when this will happen. The most important consideration is the frequency of freeze-thaw. This can damage the roots or cause the roots to be exposed to freezing temperatures. It is more common for freeze-thaw issues to occur.

In the very early spring (again, depending on your climate zone), when you are ready to bring it out again or it has over-wintered successfully, take out the metal trellis or other support. This is also a good time to take out the bamboo or wooden trellis that originally came with the plant. This is the time you can prune the plant. This will encourage the plant to grow bushier and it will produce more flowers. Make sure you return the taller trellis back to the container.

Watering Your Clematis – After you plant the clematis in the container, water it thoroughly. Depending on if your plant gets any rain, you will want to water it thoroughly two times a week. By doing the prep on the container with pebbles and soil, and having a pot with good drainage, you will be able to water the container thoroughly.

Fertilizing Your Clematis – Clematis need very little fertilization. Most potting mixes have fertilizer in them. But you can expect that the frequency of watering will leach out the fertilizer in a container faster than if they were planted in-ground. It is recommended that clematis be fertilized with either granules scratched into the potting soil of the container or a water-based fertilizer at least prior to blooming in the spring-early summer. This would be especially true in the years after initial planting.

Your clematis plant should be able to stay in the container for four to five years before it will exhaust its compost. After that time, you need to upgrade to a larger container and replace the compost and potting mix.   

Let us know if you have done this and if you have any additional tips.

Leave a Comment:

Credit Card Processing