Clematis blooms beautifully – but only with an optimal supply of nutrients. We will show you when, how, and with what best to fertilize your clematis. Although clematis, also known as clematis, manage their nutrients in the soil well, an additional supply is often useful. Further fertilization is essential, especially for the strong growth of individual species and the development of the flower.
Only a well-cared-for clematis will form dense foliage and a lush flow of flowers that will wrap your garden in a colorful dress in summer. Clematis are imposing flowering climbing plants that turn even an unsightly corner in the garden into a real eye-catcher. But the combination of length and bloom ensures a decent need for nutrients. We will therefore show you how often, when, and with what you should fertilize your clematis.
When to fertilize clematis?
When planting the clematis, you should add plenty of ripened compost and horn shavings to the planting hole to get off to a good start. These organic long-term fertilizers are slowly and gently released to the surrounding soil and thus also to your clematis.
The first maintenance fertilization does not follow until the following year. The period in which fertilization is carried out should be adapted to the growth phase of the climbing plants. That is why fertilization is carried out from March to mid-August. During this time, clematis is fertilized one to three times. How often and when you should use fertilizer depends on the fertilizer you choose and the type of clematis.
The best time to give a slow-release fertilizer in spring, more precisely March just before the first annual shoot. Here you should give the main part of fertilizer. Since clematis is particularly hungry shortly before and during the flowering phase, they should be fertilized again at the beginning of the flowering period.
Please note, however, that different species or varieties may have different flowering times. Clematis Alpina starts showing its flower dress as early as April. Other species, however, only bloom in June. Vigorously growing species such as Clematis integrifolia, Clematis viticella, Clematis texensis, and many clematis hybrids require a particularly large amount of nutrients.
With these, you should fertilize again in June / July. Since clematis depends on a constantly high supply of nutrients during their growth phase, you can distribute the amount of fertilizer over the entire growth phase. Then it is fertilized regularly in small amounts every 14 days. This is also recommended if you are using a short-term mineral fertilizer.
If you want to do your blooming darlings a favor, you can switch to a low-nitrogen fertilizer with a particularly high amount of potassium and phosphate from mid-August to September. This is particularly worth considering for the particularly long-blooming Clematis viticella. Because this wears its impressive flower dress until September, sometimes until the first frost.
Clematis: with what and how much fertilizer?
One method of fertilizing the clematis is by incorporating ripe compost or manure. As organic substances, these ensure long-term fertilization and an even supply of nutrients. A sufficient supply of phosphate is particularly important for the formation of the flower. Liquid manure from comfrey can provide the required extra potassium. This not only strengthens the plant against low temperatures in winter but also maximizes the length of the flowering phase.
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But other complete fertilizers can also be used as long as the NPK ratio, i.e. the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorus to potassium, is correct. Organic flower fertilizer offers a particularly high proportion of potassium and phosphate, which is important for the flowering phase, is also made available in sufficient quantities. The fertilizer consists mainly of organic components, which are produced in a significantly more resource-saving manner than the mineral variants.
In this way, you fertilize in an environmentally conscious and sustainable manner without using natural fertilizer. In addition, these fertilizers do not have to be used as often. The reason for this is that the components are in complex form, which must first be broken down in the soil by microorganisms. In this way, you promote soil life and minimize the risk of over-fertilization, since organic fertilizers have a long-term effect by themselves.
Rock flour can serve as a good source of lime, and this also provides important trace elements. Your clematis particularly needs the iron it contains. Some varieties like Clematis varicella and Clematis texensis prefer a pH value around 5.0. In general, but especially with these species, make sure that the pH value does not rise too much due to the addition of lime. Otherwise, the plants can hardly absorb iron. The plants then suffer from a lack of iron and form unsightly chlorosis.
Organic long-term fertilization: application recommendation for clematis
If the nutrient supply of your clematis is based on natural products, i.e. a combination of ripe compost and comfrey manure, the compost is worked into the upper soil layer either once in spring and as required or every 14 days in smaller quantities. The comfrey manure is diluted at 1:10 and given every 14 days when watering. If you choose an organic complete fertilizer from specialist retailers, you do not have to pay as much attention to the dosage as you do with mineral fertilizer.
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But here, too, only optimal fertilization brings an optimal result. Therefore, we have put together a small overview of the application of organic flower fertilizer below. This fertilizer, which is based almost entirely on organic sources, can be used as follows when fertilizing your clematis:
- Before planting, work 100 – 150 g / m² (well-filled 0.2-liter jar) of organic flower fertilizer into the upper soil layer
- Pour the soil and freshly inserted clematis well so that the granules can dissolve well.
- With maintenance fertilization in spring, you should fertilize another 80 – 120 g / m² (0.2-liter jar) per plant
If necessary, small amounts of fertilizer can then be re-fertilized over the course of the vegetation period. If you distribute an additional mulch layer of bark mulch, leaves, or cuttings in the root area after fertilization, you will also minimize water loss in the soil. This is particularly advisable with such thirsty plants as the clematis. In addition, the mulching offers a supplementary long-term supply of nutrients and has a good insulating effect in winter.
Fertilize clematis minerally
A clematis feels at home in a nice, large bucket. So you have the option of having your balcony and terrace planted or of cultivating non-winter-hardy species. These are then simply housed in a sheltered place for the winter. Due to the limited volume of soil, mineral fertilizers can be beneficial here, if used correctly. Not many nutrients can be stored in the substrate anyway. Fertilize clematis in pots or planted specimens with a mineral fertilizer such as blue corn at regular intervals every 14 days from March to August, because the nutrients are usually only available to the plants for a short time.
Then pour vigorously after the fertilizer application so that the nutrients can also be absorbed. However, always pay attention to the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. The fertilizers are highly concentrated and can very quickly lead to over-fertilization of your plants. Alternatively, you can also use the organic long-term variant in pot culture. This means that you do not run the risk of oversupplying the plants so quickly. In addition, the organic variants offer sufficient nutrients without breaking your biological footprint.
Fertilize clematis with home remedies: coffee grounds and co
Coffee grounds are an excellent NPK fertilizer found in almost every household. However, keep in mind that using coffee grounds as fertilizer will lower the soil pH. If the soil is too acidic, your clematis will be happy to be fertilized with crushed eggshells as a source of lime. This is a good way of compensating for the drop in pH. Another treasure in the kitchen garbage is banana peels. When cut into small pieces, these provide a lot of phosphate and potassium, so they are just right for your clematis. All of these found objects are best carefully incorporated into the upper layer of the earth, where they slowly decompose and release their valuable ingredients to the plant.