Controlling clematis height


I grow several well established clematis up a 4 foot by 10 foot trellis. All 4 want to grow tall while I want them to be bushier upto 4 foot high. Is it a good idea to clip the vines when they reach 4 foot high. Will this kill the plants or force them to flower on lower vines.
I am not sure what group they are in but each year in the fall I cut them back hard which provides a very healthy plant in April. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners,

Knowing which clematis you have does assist us in knowing when to prune back your clematis for the winter or after blooming, as per the Toronto Master Gardener website: Pruning Clematis

Clematis can be pruned to maintain the height you desire during the summer. The group 2 Clematis can be cut down after blooming, and can rebloom after the pruning. This article in provides pruning information based on the type of clematis. Clematis Group Explained

If you want to start early, you can pinch back the tips in early spring to make the clematis bushier. This Garden Fundamental video has a hands-on pruning demonstration on clematis types in the spring. Spring Pruning Clematis Types Spring Pruning Clematis

This website article in Fine Gardening provides information on pruning a clematis Pruning a Clematis . Unpruned clematis grow tall and bear flowers too high to see, or grow all around, shading themselves; pruning as you suggested will assist in having flowers bloom lower on the vine, and not bear flowers sparsely.

Once  your clematis have reached the desired height, you can start at the tip of the shoots and work your way down. Find a node (also called a leave axil bud) which is a joint on the stem where buds begin to branch out. You’ll want to make your prune just above the node. This video by Overdevest Nurseries,  about 7 plus minutes into the video has pruning instructions showing a node cut on a Clematis. Clematis Pruning in Summer

Have a great summer and enjoy your clematis.