Clematis Group 3

The third group is another easy group to deal with. It is typified by C. viticella and its host of cultivars. These are mainly the smaller-flowered varieties, which tend to produce their blooms in late summer and into autumn, on the current year’s wood. If they are left unpruned, the climbers get taller and taller and the flowers appear right at the top, leaving an unsightly mass of tangled brown stems at eye-level. They are ideal for growing through other shrubs such as roses. At the beginning of the summer, the clematis is not far into the bush so the roses can be clearly seen, but by late summer, when the roses have finished, the clematis is in full flower, giving the shrub a second flush of life.

Pruning Clematis Group 3

1: The main pruning technique with this group is to cut all the stems back to a bud or new shoot close to the base of the plant. 

Picture of Patio Planting

2: Any remaining dead or damaged wood should be cut right back to the base. There will always be a few such shoots.

An impressive amount of growth is put
on during one season and the plant
gathers strength each year; it will soon
cover this tripod. 


Initial training

When planting the young clematis, check that it is planted deeper in the soil that it was in the pot. You will need to have the pot soil line about 5cm (2in) or more below the level of the ground. The reason for this

is to ensure that if the plant suffers from clematis wilt, there will be some adventitious buds that will throw up new shoots and so ensure the plant’s survival. On planting, cut back all stems to a pair of strong buds about 30cm (12in) or so above the ground. As the new shoots develop, ensure that they are well spread out and tie them in so that the whole of the support will be covered.

Established pruning

In late winter, cut back all stems to the first strong pair of buds above the point where you cut them last year. Pull all the old growth from the supports. There will probably be some growth starting towards the tips of the old growth, but do not be afraid to cut this off. The plant will soon burst into life from the base.

Group 3 Clematis

  • C. ‘Abundance’
  • C. ‘Ascotiensis’
  • C. ‘Bill Mackenzie’
  • C. ‘Comtesse de Bouchard’
  • C. ‘Duchess of Albany’
  • C. ‘Etoile Violette’
  • C. ‘Fair Rosamund’
  • C. ‘Lady Betty Balfour’
  • C. ‘Little Nell’
  • C. ‘Madame Julia Correvon’
  • C. ‘Perle d’Azur’
  • C. ‘Royal Velours’
  • C. ‘Star of India’
  • C. tangutica
  • C. tibetana (orientalis)
  • C. viticella and cvs

Unusual clematis

There is a small group of clematis that can be pruned either as Group 2 or Group 3. Treated as Group 2, they will flower earlier with larger flowers. As Group 3 they will flower later (which can be an advantage), but with smaller flowers.

  • C. ‘Duchess of Sutherland’
  • C. ‘Ernest Markham’
  • C. ‘Gipsy Queen’
  • C. ‘Hagley Hybrid’
  • C. ‘Jackmanii’
  • C. ‘Jackmanii Superba’
  • C. ‘Maureen’
  • C. ‘Mrs Cholmondeley’
  • C. ‘Niobe’
  • C. ‘Rouge Cardinal’
  • C. ‘Ville de Lyon’
  • C. ‘W.E. Gladstone’

How to prune Clematis group 3

The group 3 clematis are very easy to deal with, which can be a relief because the previous year’s growth always looks a tangled mess. Pruning is best done in late winter and regrowth will start almost immediately. Cut all the stems back to the first pair of strong buds above where you cut the previous year. Cut out any dead stems completely. As the new stems grow, weave or tie them in as necessary.