image up close of twining leaf of clematis

Clematis in A Container on the Deck – Third Spring and It’s Doing Well!

As a vining plant, clematis is one of the most beautiful I have ever grown. Its color is so pretty glowing in the garden against the dark green or smokey green color of its leaves. My daughter grew a beautiful “Nelly Moser” at her house against a pergola which hung with wisteria in the springtime. It was a gorgeous sight to see.

image of clematis blossom Nelly Moser

Over at my house, I had the “Jackmanii” and it just glowed purple for a wonderful long time. Not a large clematis either, but its bloom time was spectacular.  When we both moved and sold our houses, we didn’t take the clematis plants with us. She moved in November and I moved in March so not really the best time to dig up plants. Especially perennials that have been in their locations for years!

image of clematis jackmanii

So we waved goodbye and planned to have some at our new house. I haven’t planted any Sweet Autumn Clematis here yet at the new house, but I sure loved it and its wonderful scent. I had a huge fence load of it every year.

image of Sweet Autumn clematis blossoms

Not that we have any idea of ever moving again, (not taking on that nightmare…ever!) we decided last spring that we would try a clematis in a container and see how well that would do. If we got an appropriately large container and planted in well, fed it and watered it on time, we should have a lovely blooming clematis that we could even move around the deck as we desired.

image of clematis in a pot or container

Did I mention we are both “movers?”  We both like to move furniture, rearrange cabinets, etc. My son is always complaining when he comes over “Now where have you moved the dinner plates to now?”  But we like to find more efficient places for everything, do you do this?

So planting a clematis in a container seems a good solution since we could always move it for more sun, less sun, better focal point…anything that struck our fancy.

Clematis in a Pot

Choose a large pot or container for your plant. I bought one that was approximately the size of a 5 gallon bucket so that there would be ample room for roots. Be sure that there are drainage holes or put some in it with a drill if you need to. It is easy if you do it carefully.

I drilled 3 holes across the bottom so I know that water will not stand around the roots. Your soil needs to be rich and free-draining, so include some perlite or coarse sand depending on how heavy your container can be so that you can move it.

image of pot and obelisk for planting clematis in container
Clematis in a pot – Use a large pot. This one is about 5 gallons.

I DO NOT put rocks in the bottom of my containers. I wrote a post long ago about why I don’t do this. Never have I ever had any problem with my containers. They get to use the full amount of soil I put in them, not shortened by a load of stones at the bottom. To each his own.

Watch the video showing bits from last year of June 2019 when I planted this Clematis “Little Duckling” or Piilu. This variety I found at Lowe’s for $14.99 and planted in the container with a large obelisk as its climbing support. #affiliatelink This link to the obelisk is not exactly the same but similar in height.

"Little Duckling" Clematis Piilu - Overwintering Clematis In A Container. Works for Me!

Since the clematis use their leaf stems as their climbing anchors, be sure to use a trellis or support with a very small diameter in its support structure. If you are using a wooden support of some kind with large slats of wood, it may be necessary to put some fine netting wrapped around the wooden slats to give the leaf a better size to grip with its leaf. See the top image in the post? It is just a leaf stem giving the support. No twining growth of the vine clockwise or counterclockwise. My obelisk had pencil-sized iron support frame so it was perfect.

This variety, Little Duckling, dies to the soil level each winter here in Ohio, so all I had to do was clean it up, removing all the brown vines . It started sprouting early and was budding by early May. I am waiting now for its first bloom this year. But it had a lot last year and I am waiting for a repeat.

image of clematis little duckling

Go ahead and try a Clematis in a Pot or Container. Great when you want those flowers right in your face for morning coffee!

Update on Clematis for 2023 Season

The clematis in a container pot is still doing well this season and seeming to set buds. Here is a view of the plant from last spring in 2022. It bloomed well and I put a different stick inside to climb.

The metal obelisk was too hard to reach inside for a stray weed, so I changed to a bamboo teepee. But I really like how the clematis behaves in a container. Time for more?

See what you think?

clematis blooming after years in a container, pink blossoms
This is it blooming for 2022, now just setting buds for 2023

April 2023 – Buds are forming and I am moving the container to a west-facing view. I sure hope it does well there.

Clematis in a container with angelina as a mulch


  1. My potted clematis has been in same pot for years. How can I loosen add soil mixture in the dirt in my pot

    1. I think you could loosen the soil around the top in the spring and add new soil to blend with the rest (if you want to be a little cautious). But then you could replant in new soil and new pot in the spring before it begins to get growing like I did. (Not sure where you are and if yours dies down in the winter.) Mine has done well even though transplanted. I will need to possibly replant mine again this spring into a new location. Considering a trellis and into the ground!

      1. I’m in Wisconsin do I leave the 5 quart pail out all winter with no ptotection?

        1. I have left mine out for the past several winter in Ohio Zone 6 and it comes back every spring (pretty early too.)

        2. I’m in zone 5 and I wouldn’t suggest to keep it outside. Maybe put in an attached garage. Don’t let the soil dry out completely though. Hope it works for you!

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