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I'd like some advice on a clematis vine plant that was left to grow without a trellis. Without anything to climb on, it has turned into a giant heap in just a couple of short weeks. As you can see from the photo, I installed some garden twine today and tried untangling it, but it is a very delicate plant and hard to untangle without snapping. What is the best course of action now? This exact situation happened with this plant last season, and I was heartbroken to see it happen again this season. I was considering cutting it back so it could grow correctly, but it is now the end of April and I wonder if we have lost it for this season.

Thank you for any advice.

https://imgur.com/a/eK9M2oT

  • When does it flower ( May/June or July onwards or later) and what shape are the flowers - large, flat and open, bell shaped, small flat and open or any other size and shape also what colour are the flowers? – Bamboo Apr 28 at 20:43
  • It blooms twice in the season, first in late spring and then another round late summer. The flowers are large and dark purple. I need to make a decision about cutting it back within the next day or two as I don't have much time. – ahmad Apr 28 at 21:43
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You can cut it back; from your description, your clematis is a prune group 2 one, where the plant is usually just tidied up a bit in spring by removing any dead or unwanted growth rather than a full cutting back. You will lose the larger, earlier flowers by cutting back hard now, but the later, smaller flowers will still arrive later on in summer. Be sure to give the plant some fertlizer after you have cut it back.

However, if you are going to cut it back and sacrifice the early flowers, it's worth putting up a better support system for it. Whilst the string arrangement is better than nothing, it won't support the weight of the growth ongoing very well; clematis mesh (https://www.taylorsclematis.co.uk/CLEMATIS-MESH/SUPPORT/) will do a much better job. It obviously needs attaching to something - if you have wooden fence posts, place a length of mesh between the posts, fixing to the posts with fencing staples.

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