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Last updated on January 21st, 2020

Regularly pruning your clematis will encourage better flowering and a stronger plant overall. It also helps to prevent the plant from growing out of control. If you fail to prune properly and regularly your clematis will manifest in a mass of tangled stems overlapping one another with an empty base and flowers every which way.

When to prune clematis montana

If you have a clematis Montana you need to prune in accordance with pruning Group 1 which means you prune early in the year after flowering in spring. Because clematis montana is very vigorous you can actually just use a pair of shears to trim them to shape after flowering.

Quick Facts:

Flowering TimesSpring, on the shoots from last season
Pruning TimesImmediately after flowering from mid to late spring
Difficulty LevelModerate/Easy – simply prune to shape

The clematis Montana is part of what is called Group One because it flowers early on in the year and it does so on the shoots which were created the summer prior. The younger plants will produce long, single stems and only offer flowers at the top therein if they are not properly pruned.

How to prune young clematis montana with very few stems

When it comes time, you should prune back hard following the first spring after you have planted your clematis. The only exception is if your plant has already produced 3-4 healthy stems out of its base by that time.

To begin, cut back to right above a pair of buds, which should be about 30cm above your soil. Doing this will encourage multiple stems which you can train to provide wider coverage in your garden. Once spring and summer roll around, you can tie in that new growth to give it some support.

Make sure you use the sharpest garden shears you have and always disinfect them in between cuts to avoid transfer of diseases. You can use cleaning solutions or a mixture of 9 parts water to 1 part bleach. When done, remove any of the cuttings and throw them out; if you leave them under the plant it can result in mold or disease spread.

For this particular group regular pruning is not a requirement but if you have to prune you should do it after flowering at the middle or end of spring. You want to time it such that you don’t trim until after danger of inclement weather has passed to avoid damage from frost.

Pruning mature plants

If you have an established plant it is important that you prune any branches that have grown far too long and that you prune back any winter damaged or dead shoots far enough to the first pair of healthy buds. A vigorous clematis especially the clematis Montana can be sheared over after flowering in order to keep the plant looking good which is why they can also make a good hedge. You can also thin out older, congested plants so that it’s easier to maintain good airflow.

If you are going to do this, cut all of the stems back to just above the base and apply some fertilizer to the soil so that your plant gets the nutrients it needs to regrow. You should avoid hard pruning more than once every three years.

If you have group 2 clematis you can read about pruning there here and if you have group 3 clematis you can learn about pruning them here.


Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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