To get the best from your Clematis it is important to carry out some ongoing maintenance throughout the year. Following is a list of simple things you can do to help you plants produce their best show of flowers and make them a stand out feature in your garden. Clematis are gregarious feeders as they grow quickly so it is important to follow the fertilising and mulching guidelines.
As your Clematis shoot away you may need to tie up the new clematis shoots. Be careful, the new shoots break easily from the old wood so it is best to wait until they are around 50cm long. Commence a spray programme using a systemic fungicide each fortnight for two months. Some serious liquid feeding is required now to ensure the ground is damp with nutrients to at least 40cm down, apply each week until the buds are the size of a large pea then cease liquid feed until flowering has finished. If there is little or no protection for the roots of your clematis provide a good depth mulch such as a compost, manure, straw, pebbles, rock, pea straw, broken concrete, etc... to help retain moisture. From mid spring onwards is the best time to visit the nursery to see large display plants flowering.
As the weather warms it's very important to ensure your Clematis have sufficient water. It may be necessary to give plants a good soaking every second day or so depending on weather. Mid-season, large flowered hybrids will start flowering early summer. Early spring flowering hybrids will have finished flowering now so give them a light prune and start liquid feeding again for another crop of flowers in autumn. The Viticellas will hit the colour button mid-summer to early-autumn.
Some of the Viticella sp. will still be flowering and the early flowering hybrids will be having their second flush. Towards the end of the season apply around a 15cm mulch of well rotted manure or compost to the root area. The winter rains will soak a feed into the ground ready for spring when growth starts.
The Cirrhosa should be looking good with the onset of cooler weather, give them a liquid feed now. Apply good quality compost or manure to the root area of all clematis if you haven't done so already. If you neglect this mulching you may deprive your garden of a superior show of flowers. In late winter shoots will start to appear from the ground at the base of plants, be careful when working around them. Snail & slug deterrents may be necessary. Liquid feed the evergreen Armandii now for a great show in spring.