How to Plant a Clematis in Your Garden

Their elegance, color, variety, and exquisite flower shapes have catapulted clematis to the top of the climbers’ charts. Plant them with care and you will enjoy these superstars for many years to come.

When to start: Early autumn.

At their best: Depends on variety.

Time to complete: 1 ½ hours.

You will need: Clematis plant, well-rotted organic matter – such as manure, spade and fork, all-purpose granular fertilizer, bamboo cane, wires and vine eyes (if planting next to a wall or fence), garden twine.

Prepare the ground

First, dig plenty of organic matter into the soil. If growing clematis up a wall or fence, position the plant 18in (45 cm) away from it. Dig a hole about 12in (30 cm) deep, fork over the base, and add some fertilizer to the excavated soil.

Check the depth

Clematis are best planted deeply, so that if clematis wilt strikes, the plant will survive. Place the clematis in its pot in the hole, and lay a stake or string over it to check that the lower stems will be 2 in (5 cm) beneath the soil surface when it is planted.

Plant and backfill

After watering thoroughly, remove the clematis from its pot and plant it in the hole. Carefully backfill with the fertilized soil, pushing it gently between the brittle stems with your fingers and making sure there are no air pockets as you go.


Gently firm the soil with your foot, and tie stems to an obelisk or other support. Water in well. Add a thick mulch of well-rotted organic matter, keeping it clear of the stems. Continue to water regularly until the plant is established.