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Feeding your Clematis

Liquid feeding your Containerized Clematis.

Most Clematis are vigorous, climbing vines. Given the right conditions, they are capable of impressive growth rates. Among the many basic requirements for rapid growth are nutrients. Nutrients, along with water and light allow the vines to produce energy and grow. Often nutrients are what limit the growth of our container plants. Sunshine and water may be in good supply but if we don’t fertilize our clematis they won’t be as good as they can be. Clematis that are grown in containers have some special requirements because of their finite volume of soil. If left unfertilized the pot will become totally devoid of nutrients. This is called leaching. The vine will turn yellow, become week and eventually die. However we must be careful not to add too many nutrients too often. This can cause a buildup and a nutrient overload that will result in fertilizer burn and can also lead to death. So what do you do?

There are a number of solutions but the one that seems to work the best is liquid fertilizer. Liquid fertilized is purchased as a powder. This powder contains all the essential nutrients required for optimal growth. The powder is then mixed with the appropriate amount of warm water to form a nutrient solution that is typically translucent blue. This solution is then used to water the plant.  Liquid feed works very well with the light soils typically used for container growing. It provides the roots with immediately available nutrients that can last three or four waterings be for they are completely leached. Any container plant needs frequent watering when the plant is actively growing. Anyone who has taken care of a hanging basket full of fern or fuchsia can attest to this. Some times daily waterings are required. Clematis in containers typically require less watering than these extreme examples but none the less require their fare share. You will be watering your containerized clematis a couple of times a week in the summer months.

You should liquid fertilize you container clematis once a month at the recommended rate of the fertilizer you purchased. Typically this is a few table spoons per gallon.  Begin to liquid feed in April or May, as the new shoot appear and continue until September or October. This could be 6 or 7 times. It is a good idea to thoroughly soak the container the day before you liquid fertilize. This will wash away any possible build ups and leave the container ready for its new dose of food. Please pay attention to the mixing instructions and if multiple rates are given use a middle rate for clematis. A fertilizer schedule like this will help to insure you get ever increasing pleasure from your blooming clematis vine.

Additional Reference Material

clematis Kids Contest

A Brief Clematis History - This is a brief article reprinted from the British Clematis Society

A Quick Guide to Clematis Pruning - This is a brief article reprinted from the British Clematis Society

Clematis Basics - This is a ACS care sheet which is meant to provide American gardeners with some brief recommendations for clematis care

Clematis Botany - This is a brief article reprinted from the British Clematis Society

Correct Clematis Pruning depends on Bloom Type - This is a brief article reprinted from the Kansas State University – Research and Extension

Growing Clematis in Containers - This is an Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet reprinted from their Horticulture and Crop Science department

Growing Clematis - This is an article reprinted from the Missouri Botanical Garden - Kemper Center for Home Gardening

Planting Clematis - This is a brief article reprinted from the British Clematis Society

Clematis and Roses - This is a reprint of an article by Beth Marie Renaud, from the National Gardening Association