Evergreen clematis, also known as traveller's joy, old man’s beard or Clematis Vitalba, is an eye-catching addition for any garden. They offer colour and interest even in the darker, colder months.
There are several different species to choose from many of which are scented and produce pretty flowers. They require a sunny spot in the garden and to be sheltered from strong winds to ensure they remain looking their best.
It is also vital that you prune your clematis to encourage strong growth and flowering but also to keep this growth in check.
Pruning evergreen clematis
Evergreen clematis doesn’t need regular pruning but it will require rigorous pruning from time to time. The best time to prune is mid to late spring, immediately after flowering. If it is not pruned, it will eventually overrun the other plants in the garden.
If the clematis isn’t pruned while it is still young it can produce very long single stems and only flower at the very top. All newly planted clematis should be pruned back hard during the first spring after planting. Cut back just above a strong pair of leaf buds to encourage multiple stems, these can then be trained to supports to give good coverage.
With climbing plants it is sometimes difficult to determine what should be removed and what should be left on the plant. In the case of this clematis it can be cut down to about 50cm from the ground so that it can start growing anew. Of course, this is up to you. It is not absolutely essential to cut the plant back so hard.
If you do not get round to pruning the plant in March but would like to keep it neat and trim, you can do this during the growing period (May to September). Stems that have become too long can be cut right back to the main branch. The space this creates can be used to tie down smaller stems, allowing them to develop and carry more weight without sagging.
Evergreen clematis are fast growing
Remove surplus shoots in autumn each year. If this is not done, this climbing shrub will crowd out and strangle all the plants below it.
When pruning, make sure that the cuttings are not left on the ground, as these can take root very easily.
Evergreen clematis for shade
Clematis are known as plants that ‘love their feet in the shade and their faces in the sun’. There are many varieties of clematis that flower well in shadier areas of the garden with only a couple of hours of indirect sunlight. Clematis like their roots to remain cool and moist.