Last updated on January 21st, 2020
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The clematis is a great plant for those who seek a way to capitalize upon vertical spaces in their garden. Clematis in fact will climb up trellises, fences, trees, and offer beautiful ranges of colour to otherwise bland areas. Evergreen vines will climb up against fences very easily and help to disguise the metal or wood of the fence while simultaneously adding privacy to your home. Planting clematis against a fence to do just that is quite simple.
Planting the clematis
The first thing you need to know is how to plant your clematis. Planting is rather simple and can be done against your fence by placing the clematis in the ground or in a container. There are different types of clematis which is best grown in containers and types best grown in the ground. Which you choose is really contingent upon the garden in which they are growing. If the ground, for example, is full of soil that is not conducive to good clematis strength, you might consider growing in a pot so that you don’t have to try and amend the soil in your garden year after year, that being said they will grow in most soil types do this is usually not a problem. Ideally, you want to plant it around 40cm away from the fence as the ground is often dry next to the fence, its also a good idea to mulch and water in well.
How to grow clematis up a fence
Once the clematis is planted you need only rudimentary equipment to train it to grow up your fence. Now, it might not bloom the very first year you plant it because the plant really needs to establish its root system before any flowers appear, however its not uncommon to get flowers in the first year. So rest assured that if you don’t see flowers the first season after you’ve planted, all is likely well with your clematis.
When you are ready to help train your clematis to go up a fence, start by placing narrow sticks into the ground directly behind the stem and at an angle. The narrow sticks you use should angle backwards toward the fence itself. Even if the stem is very close to your fence, you perhaps planted it within centimetres of the fence itself (remember we advise you plant it at least 40cm away from the fence), having narrow sticks will still support the vines when they are young.
Once that is done, attach the vines loosely to the narrow sticks you have used with garden twine or plant clips. You want to allow the clematis some movement so that it can grow within the tie itself. Guide your vines toward the fence and up the sticks so that they grow in the direction you prefer.
You will need to attach either trellis, horizontal wires or plastic netting as pictured below to the fence to give something for the clematis to cling to.
Tieing the clematis to the fence will likely be something that you do regularly as the clematis gets older and more mature. Once the vine is long enough to climb up the post you can attach it to the fence post with the same garden twine or garden clips.
As it continues to grow you should secure additional vines using the same methods once you see they have branched off from the main stem. You might need to adjust them as necessary to give you the optimum coverage across your fence. For example, if you are trying to use your clematis to provide privacy, you might need to train multiple vines to grow up each of the posts so that you can get the optimum amount of privacy. Conversely, if you are simply trying to get as much colour along the fence as possible you might spread the vines out more add an upward angle so that you can see all of the different flowers.
Attach the vines every quarter of a meter or so until they are mature enough to fully grip your fence and secure on their own. This should take about 1 season or so after which time you will see that they will maintain their own connections.
One tip to keep in mind is that you should prune your clematis after it has finished flowering but this depends on the type and which pruning group it belongs to. This is something you typically do with the end of summer or the end of spring so that you maintain a well-manicured garden space. That said most clematis flowers do not have to be pruned unless you are trying to cut it or thin it so that it doesn’t drape over your fence. Otherwise if left to its own devices it will naturally drape.