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HANNAH STEPHENSON shows you how to get a dazzling display of large blooms from Group 2 hybrid clematis, which flower firstly in spring and early summer on shoots produced in the previous year, then in mid and late summer on new growth.

| FIRST YEAR PRUNING CUT back all the stems in late winter to 30cm (12in) to encourage branching and vigorous growth. Large flowered hybrids need pruning to give them the best chance of producing healthy blooms.

Remove dead, diseased or spindly growth in late winter/ early spring before new growth has started.

Cut stems back to a pair of healthy buds, which will bear flowers in the current season. Tie stems with vigorous shoots on to trellis support and space for maximum coverage.

After the first flush of flowers in early summer, prune the old flowers to strong buds immediately below, to encourage a second flush of flowers later in the summer.

| SECOND YEAR PRUNING IN the second year pruning is less dramatic, as you can cut stems back in late winter to 1m (40in) to encourage branching higher up the plant.

For a long season of flowers, cut back some stems harder than others.

The more gently pruned ones will flower on wood produced the previous year, while those pruned hard will flower later on new wood.

| THIRD YEAR PRUNING AND BEYOND CUT back all stems to a plump pair of buds and remove dead and weak stems.

Mature plants should only need a light tidy up annually. You can even leave them unpruned and then hard prune them every three to four years in late winter, cutting them back to around 50cm (1.5ft) and retraining the new growth.

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 3, 2018
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