Planting and aftercare for Clematis alpina Constance.
Clematis Alpina Constance will grow in all soil types but they do best in deep and fertile ground that is well drained. Your new Clematis should be around to give many years of flowering pleasure and so it is worth spending a little time to prepare the soil. Add plenty of well-rotted leaf mould or manure, especially if your soil is heavy (add some grit as well) or light (it will help retain moisture by putting some ‘body’ into the soil). Whatever you choose to add, it should be thoroughly mixed in with the surrounding topsoil. If you are planting Clematis alpina Constance against a wall, prepare the planting hole 30-40cm away so that the crown of the plant is not under the ‘rain shadow’. You may need to provide one or two bamboo canes to begin with, supporting the young plant while it reaches the permanent support.
If you choose to grow your Clematis up a large shrub or tree, again plant well away from the base or trunk, otherwise the established plant will take all the light, water and nutrients. Again use bamboo canes (or wires) so that the young plant can get a ‘foothold’ onto your chosen tree or shrub. Its worth planting the Clematis on the windward side, that way strong winds will blow the Clematis onto the tree or shrub, not away from it.
How to plant young Clematis
Our young Clematis alpina Constance plants are strongly rooted small plants in 7cm pots. After receipt they should be unpacked immediately, if you cannot plant them straight away, they can be stood somewhere sheltered until you are ready, keeping an eye on watering. At planting time you may like to add a sparing amount of bone meal or general slow release fertiliser (well mixed) to the planting hole. Remove the pot and add some rootgrow, planting so that the crown of the plant is just below soil level, then backfill with the well prepared soil, firming it gently and watering well after and for the first season until well established.
Left to their own devices, young Clematis plants will often produce just one or two very long stems with flowers at the tips. For best results and the most flowers in years to come, pinch out the tips of the young plants early on to make them bushy as they grow. Aim to get at least 3 or 4 main shoots from close to the base and train them, spaced evenly onto your supports.
Pruning Clematis alpina Constance
This Clematis is in group 1 for aftercare and pruning, the simplest and easiest group! These Clematis flower early in the season on shoots that grew during the previous growing season. As a matter of course, routine pruning is not required although it may be useful to prune back excessively long shoots or to give the plant a tidy up, which should be carried out immediately after flowering in early spring. When cutting the plants back always prune to a pair of strong healthy buds for the best results.
To keep your Clematis alpina Constance plants strong and healthy, it pays to apply a general fertiliser and a generous mulch at the same time, this will maximise growth and flowering next season.
Excessively large, overgrown or congested Clematis alpina can be renovated by cutting them hard back (almost to ground level) after flowering. With a generous feed and mulch at the same time combined with watering during dry spells, the plants will usually grow back very well and quite quickly so that a new framework can be tied into the supporting framework.