Clematis Grows Back

You can't kill a clematis by cutting. Just look at this clematis vine grow after having been cut hard in spring.

Large flowered hybrid, cut back at the end of March. (After growth had started; sorry, vine, but that's the breals! You started growth 'way early and caught us short). We removed old canes at the base and shortened all the tops. Left just enough to reach the hangers that support it.

Large flowered hybrid, cut back at the end of March. (After growth had started; sorry, vine, but that's the breals! You started growth 'way early and caught us short). We removed old canes at the base and shortened all the tops. Left just enough to reach the hangers that support it.

Nine days later.

Nine days later.

One month after its spring cut.

One month after its spring cut.

We try to keep new growth directed left and level into the hangers. That's a fight, since clematis always heads for the strongest light and in this garden the light comes from above and to the right.

We try to keep new growth directed left and level into the hangers. That's a fight, since clematis always heads for the strongest light and in this garden the light comes from above and to the right.

Mid July, peak bloom. Compare this lush thicket to the first picture in the series to understand how much we cut out each spring.

Mid July, peak bloom. Compare this lush thicket to the first picture in the series to understand how much we cut out each spring.

Three weeks past peak, deadheaded and developing second bloom.

Three weeks past peak, deadheaded and developing second bloom.

Of note: We treat this vine the same every year but it has its own agenda. Some years, as here, it surges up and over the hangers less than a month after its spring cut-back.

Of note: We treat this vine the same every year but it has its own agenda. Some years, as here, it surges up and over the hangers less than a month after its spring cut-back.

Send us your pictures, help other gardeners brave the cut!

We know that in pruning the real learning happens in watching a plant grow back. That's why we try to give every before-the-cut photo an after-the-comeback counterpart. Do you have such a pair of pictures to share with others who are working up the nerve to prune? Send them to us and we'll share them!

P.M. sent us these photos, with the note, "I love my clematis vines and have fun coaxing them up ropes hooked onto these columns. One year I was flabbergasted when someone who said they knew how to garden came to help me and cut them right down to nothing!"

P.M. sent us these photos, with the note, "I love my clematis vines and have fun coaxing them up ropes hooked onto these columns. One year I was flabbergasted when someone who said they knew how to garden came to help me and cut them right down to nothing!"

Her happy ending: "But they grew right back!"

Her happy ending: "But they grew right back!"