Clematis – purple blooming now AND climbing roses

(Question)

CLEMATIS – south sun – at lest 20 yrs old – this year – very sparse blooms and only at the top! Why – have tried to keep alive – admit to not fertilizing much

CLIMBING ROSE – already cut back 3x this season – only 1 small rose – same with one at back – just keeps on sending leaves – no flowers help!!!!

(Answer)

Clematises are heavy feeders so should be fertilized in spring and early summer with a good quality liquid fertilizer or add  some manure to the soil. To encourage flowering, try pruning your clematis. This will keep your clematis from being top heavy, remove any diseased branches and encourage new growth lower down that will produce more flowers. When to prune and how to prune will depend on the type of Clematis that you have. If it blooms in the spring on growth from the previous year, prune after it blooms. A vigorous grower can be pruned heavily but a slower grower should be pruned lightly.

Some bloom on both old and new shoots and stems so may rebloom from late spring to early summer. It is better to trim lightly, thinning the plant in late winter or early spring and maybe again after blooming.

Summer or fall bloomers bloom on new current year growth so prune early in the year. If it is a vigorous grower, it can be pruned heavily almost to the ground. Here is a link to a previous query about pruning a Clematis.

http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/unknown-type-of-clematis-pruning/

Regarding your lack of flowers on the climbing roses, roses that bloom once a year should be pruned in the spring just after they bloom. If they have grown too tall, you can also do a fall pruning but this may cause new growth that can be damaged during winter. Note that heavy pruning limits the number of flowers in favor of larger flowers. It seems your roses are growing well but instead of cutting them, try training them on a trellis so they are not just going straight upwards. The more horizontal branches will produce more flowering. Take a look at the following 2 links that give detailed instructions for pruning and training climbing roses.

https://www.finegardening.com/article/pruning-climbing-roses

https://www.finegardening.com/article/train-roses-to-produce-more-flowers