Pruning Sweet Autumn Clematis – When & Why?

This year I am pruning sweet autumn clematis right after it finishes blooming. Decision made. When do you prune yours? For myself, I have almost always pruned in late winter or early spring when I first see green growth start on the brown and dead-looking branches. But I have decided to go rogue and this year, it is happening NOW.

I have made a video to show you the Sweet Autumn Clematis as it has been growing this year. I think it is even bigger than ever.

Pruning Sweet Autumn Clematis - The Pruning Job

On a previous post about my Sweet Autumn Clematis, I showed how beautiful the plant is and how much I love it. I want to keep it in my garden. But I wanted to address pruning this type of clematis. This one self-sows from the little seedlings that are blown around the garden and it can spring up all over. It is considered invasive in some areas of the county, and it is popping up in my garden and I am pulling it each week.

Pruning Sweet Autumn clematis - I choose now!

As you can see in the video, it is taking over the fence and gate and I think will soon envelope the whole front length of the fence. I really don’t want it to go that far. It has previously swamped my hydrangea in that corner and is reaching for the Beautyberry Bush.

Therefore I have decided to prune it now – just after it has finished blooming instead of waiting until spring. This is my effort to keep it from invading the rest of the garden and curb its tendencies to go everywhere.

Just How Am I Pruning Sweet Autumn Clematis?

I really love the bush and want it every year. But I have to keep it under control. So I am pruning it to about three feet tall NOW, just after blooming, and I will report the results in the spring.

I don’t think I have anything to worry about since these plants are vigorous and resilient. She will come back stronger than ever. And I won’t have the brown bush on the fence all winter. I will miss that look in the snow, but the decision is made.

We Did It!

It only took about 15 minutes to go out and take the whole thing down.  Sharp vines clung to that fence by wrapping through the slats and up and around each other. That white fence is a vinyl material which is slick on the surface. But the Sweet Autumn Clematis found no problem climbing it all the way to the top and then going up the drain/gutter pipes too. She was even wrapped around the cable wire!

Final results from pruning sweet autumn clematis

I snipped with pruners while my husband used the lopers and we both pulled and yanked and we got it down. Seeds blew as we did this so I know I will still have a lot of sprouts. These seeds seem very tiny fuzzy whirly-gigs. I suppose I am looking at the right thing.  Not as pretty as the seeds on my Jackmanii, though.

When do you prune your Sweet Autumn Clematis? I have another one growing by the garage. A rogue Sweet Autumn and the Jackmanii. Those I will wait and cut down when they are frozen brown by the weather. We’ll see what happens.

4 thoughts on “Pruning Sweet Autumn Clematis – When & Why?

  • October 7, 2019 at 9:40 am
    I wanted to share my sweet autumn clematis picture with you but don't see the option. It was beautiful this year! I was obsessed with it. I'm going to trim mine to, in the next few weeks. Thanks for the info! Reply
    • October 7, 2019 at 11:05 am
      Love Sweet Autumn Clematis and I would love to see your picture. You should come share at the Facebook page. Thanks. Reply
  • October 4, 2017 at 11:11 am
    Yep, I'm with you and your timing. This is the 3rd year I have taken it pretty much down to the ground after the flowers have faded. The reseeding aspect got to be more trouble than the plant in bloom was worth. So, I went with the drastic approach and, as you have guessed, it has proven plenty vigorous in its ability to recover. Reply
    • October 4, 2017 at 6:04 pm
      I am so glad to hear that since this will be the first year I have taken it down after blooming. I know it can recover. I pull shoots all the time and they just grow back. Reply

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