Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


October 29, 2012

PLATEAU GARDENING: Pruning, supporting hardy clematis vines

CROSSVILLE — If you add a clematis to your landscape this fall or in February or March next year, remember to keep track of the varietal name and characteristics of your vine. Clematis start slowly, needing no pruning the first two or three years. If the need arises, time trimming according to the pruning category in which your specimen belongs. Groups 2 and 3 have been detailed in prior articles. Here is the rundown on that last pruning classification and names of some cultivars in it.

Clematis Pruning Group 3 (at times called Group C) contains primarily plants that bloom on new wood (current season’s growth). Flower buds develop on new shoots formed in spring and early summer. Bloom time is summer through autumn. Winter cold won’t curtail flowering, but a spring and/or early summer drought or delaying pruning until summertime could limit blossoms for that season.

Prune in late winter while the plant is dormant. Cut back to four buds per stem (10 to 12 inches above the soil line). New growth develops above the cuts, and those shoots bear flowers. If not cut back for many years, lower stems of some in this category will be bare and woody producing neither leaves nor flowers. Cut back in late winter to rejuvenate them. Regular pruning also keeps vigorous growers in check.

The large-flowered hybrids in this group (usually Jackmanii and crosses with Jackmanii in their parentage) are susceptible to fungal wilt and are rarely scented. Ernest Markham (5-6 inch magenta blooms with gold anthers in summer), Rouge Cardinal (4-6 inch crimson red blossoms), and Romantika (4-5 inch deep, dark purple summertime blooms) are large-flowered cultivars that should do well in Tennessee. Clematis viticella, Clematis terniflora (aka C. paniculata and Sweet Autumn Clematis) and Clematis texensis (native to Texas) all have a profusion of small blooms.

Small-flowered clematis rarely get clematis wilt. Some have fragrant blossoms. C. viticella varieties to look for are Polish Spirit (3-4 inch, deep purple blooms June to September) and Purpurea Plena Elegans (2-3 inch double rose-purple flowers in late summer). Sweet Autumn Clematis is NOT a recommended choice despite its fragrant, white, star-shaped blossoms. In some situations this cultivar can be an invasive, weedy pest plant.

Clematis grow between 6 and 30 feet high. Have sufficient space and a support (mailbox, fence, trellis, tree, light pole) tall enough and sturdy enough for your variety. Clematis vine leaf stalks act like tendrils wrapping around any thin upright to cling. Attaching plastic netting or fish line to the base of a support will help the vine climb. The Mary’s Greenhouse suggestion at is a good one: “Carefully attach the bottom of the vine to a cane. Lean the cane over to the trellis, etc. that the clematis is to climb. Then push that cane into the soil so the vine stem is fairly stable. This helps keep the stem from being broken or weakened by animals, weather, etc. Not damaging the base of a newly planted clematis is important.” 

There is a PVC trellis plan that costs about $12. Buy three 10-foot sections 3/4-inch PVC pipe, ten 3/4-inch PVC tee connectors, two 3/4-inch PVC elbows and two 3/4-inch PVC end caps. Cut the PVC pipe to size with a miter saw. Cut seventeen 18” and two 12” PVC pipe pieces. Assemble the base in a ladder-like pattern with five 18” horizontal rungs and ten 18” uprights. Join with tees. See lay out photo. Put a 12” upright above the top tee on either side. Cap one end of the remaining 18” pieces to make "legs" to hold the trellis away from the building. Use an elbow to join the top 12” upright on each side to the open end of a capped 18” piece.

• • •

Plateau Gardening is written by Master Gardeners for gardeners in Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland Region.  UT Extension Cumberland County at P.O. Box 483, Crossville, TN 38557 (484-6743) has answers to horticulture questions, free publications and details on how to become a Master Gardener. Send email comments or yard and garden inquiries to Master Gardener Rae, 



Text Only
  • 20140412_110402.jpg Kids get creative at Youth Expo

    Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression (CACE) held its annual Youth Expo Saturday, providing young people an opportunity to try their hand at a variety of artistic endeavors, from music and writing to painting and traditional crafts of weaving and spinning.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • AROUND THE TOWN: The Easter egg hunt that never was

    The Easter Bunny should be able to deliver his baskets in pretty nice weather this weekend. The Good Friday and Easter holiday weekend should feature much warmer temperatures than we had earlier this week when snow showers fell on Cumberland County. Cumberland County students were released Tuesday for spring break, but their last day of school for the week found snow and ice falling from the sky and temperatures in the 20s. Students will return to class on Monday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fair Park.jpg Final audition planned for talent show

    Last auditions for Crossville’s Got Talent will be this Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. The center is at 1433 Livingston Rd. It looks like another good show, so miss this one.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLATEAU GARDENING: Cool-season lawn grass fertilization and soil tests

    Recently, I got an inquiry about the right timing for homeowners who want to fertilize a cool-season lawn which has bare spots that need over-seeding. An email from a new resident in the Crossville area asked how to take a soil sample and where to have it tested. Since problems with the pH or fertility of the soil beneath can result in chronically thin grass with persistent bare places up top, testing the soil then correcting pH and fertility to match plant needs can be an important first step in maintaining your lawn.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG953498.jpg It's a great day to fly a kite!

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Season of fundraising begins

    Spring is in full swing, and this mean there are a host of not-for-profit organizations in Crossville and Cumberland County hosting events over the next few weeks. The first event will begin this weekend with a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-25 N&N meeting.jpg Investigative forensic science close to home

    NCIS? CSI? Bones? All fictional! Here in East Tennessee, they have a real investigative forensic expert — Dr. Bill Bass.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide