KC Gardens

Feed and lime clematis now?


I just read in a local nursery/garden center newsletter that the first of March and the first of June I should sprinkle 1 cup of agriculture lime and 1 cup of espoma flower tone fertilizer 1 foot from the base of my clematis. It also said I should prune it hard to a foot from the ground. I’m not sure why but this just doesn’t sound right to me. Are they correct? Should I run out and buy these products and do what they say?

(BTW: thanks for the answer to the cold frame. Didn’t know plastic isn’t a good insulator. Keep up the good work, Dennis. I love your articles and this blog.) - Wild Child -


  1. 1 year, 1 month ago

    We don’t recommend adding lime until you have your soil tested. Our soils tend to be alkaline and may not need additional lime. The extension service provides free soil testing. A soil test will also tell you if additional fertilizer is needed. Clematis are pruned according to when they bloom. You may see vines referred to as Group1, 2 or 3. Group 1 are the early flowering vines. Pruning should be done after they bloom in spring. Remove dead or weak stems and reduce size of vine if needed. Group 2 vines are the ones most commonly grown. They bloom first in late spring on old wood and then later in summer on new shoots. Again, remove dead and weak shoots and cut back to the highest pair of strong buds. Group 3 clematis bloom in late summer. They should be cut down entirely in late winter or early spring. Cut back to a pair of strong buds, leaving each stem about one foot above ground level Merle Sharpe EMG

  2. 1 year, 1 month ago

    I second that advice. Having lived in Chicago and KC all my life, where our soils are limestone based, I have never had to buy a bag of lime, and I don’t intend to. I do not know why it is so readily recommended without suggesting a soil test first.

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