How to Grow Clematis in Texas

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Clematis vines will burst with blooms with proper planting and care.
Clematis vines will burst with blooms with proper planting and care. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Patience is a virtue when growing clematis. It can take up to three years before the plant blooms with the large numbers of the colorful flowers it is known for producing. The best time to plant clematis in Texas is in the fall, at least six weeks before the first frost date for your region when the weather is cooler, according to Parker County Master Gardeners. The scorching heat of a Texas summer may keep the clematis vine from becoming established properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Large bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Measuring tape
  • Fertilizer (10-10-10, 5-10-10 and 0-10-10)
  • Mulch (cypress, pine bark, cedar, shredded hardwood)

Place clematis in an area of the landscape with partial shade to dappled shade. Clematis can tolerate five to six hours of direct sun. It prefers well-drained, loose, rich, alkaline soil.

Soak the clematis, still in its original container, in a large bucket of water for 10 to 15 minutes or thoroughly water it in the container until water flows freely from the holes in the bottom.

Dig the planting hole two times the height of the root ball and two times as wide as the root ball.

Mix the soil from the planting hole in a fifty-fifty mixture with compost. Use a wheelbarrow or bucket to blend it together.

Push on the top and sides of the pot to separate it from the root ball. Once it's loose enough, remove the clematis from container gently. Set the clematis, with original stake attached, in the hole.

Check the depth at which the clematis is sitting with a measuring tape. The top of the root ball should sit 3 to 5 inches below the surrounding ground. Remove the clematis and add some of the amended soil if it's sitting too deep.

Fill the planting hole with the remaining soil when the plant is at the proper depth. Gently tamp the soil as you go until the hole is completely filled in.

Water until the soil is evenly moist. Add more soil if needed due to settling after being watered. Give clematis vines an inch of water per week with a slow, steady stream of water. Soak the soil 12 to 18 inches deep to make sure the water reaches the roots. Check soil moisture more often during July and August, which are Texas' hottest months.

Fertilize clematis in the spring with an all-purpose fertilizer such as 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 when new stem growth is about 2 inches long and the soil temperature is above 55 degrees Fahrenheit consistently. Feed plants every four to six weeks. Give them liquid seaweed or fish emulsion instead of granular fertilizer in July and August when it's hottest in Texas, according to Parker County Master Gardeners. Give the plant a 0-10-10 fertilizer in early September at the last feeding.

Spread a 3-inch-deep layer of mulch around the base, keeping it 8 inches away from the stem. Use mulch such as cypress, pine bark, cedar or shredded hardwood. Put a fresh layer down in the spring and fall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant clematis vines near a trellis, fence or arbor. Gently guide new vines around the nearest supporting structure.
  • Plants may need watering more frequently during July and August, the hottest months in Texas. Watering needs also depend on the type of soil, age of the plant and climate in your region of Texas, according to Parker County Master Gardeners.
  • Mulching helps shade the roots, which helps their roots become established, conserve soil moisture during the height of summer in Texas and help the clematis enter dormancy in the winter.
  • Never add lime to soil that is already alkaline.
  • Always follow directions on fertilizer labels for amount to apply and how often.

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