Having a few questions brought up about ph and adding lime to the soil, led to research and a conundrum… Do Clematis actually prefer acidic soil?
If you like looking at pictures of beautiful gardens and flowers, then you’ve probably seen some wonderful photos of clematis vines.
You know the ones…. where the mailbox or lamppost is COVERED in pink blooms!, or a trellis is covered with THREE different colors of blooms!, or a fence just overflowing with fantastic purple clematis blooms!
How can YOU get such beautiful clematis blooms?
It has LONG been believed and practiced that LIME was the answer. Applying lime in March was the standard procedure.
But after finding this article TO LIME OR NOT TO LIME, by the Clematis Queen, I began to question what I’ve been doing all these years, and my mothes had been doing years before me.
Sighting such renowned growers as Guernsey Clematis Nursery, LTD, and several others, she concludes that clematis are NOT alkaline lovers, but in fact acidity lovers and that they prefer a ph of 5.5-6.6, quite acidic in fact.
*This post contains affiliate links to products or companies that I truly love and believed in before I joined the affiliate program. If you use these links to make a purchase, I will be compensated at no extra cost to you.*
I have 2 purple clematis, 1 white, and 1 red (pinkish red). And yearly, in March or very early April, I went outside with my little hand fork and my bag of lime and gave them their yearly dose as shown in the steps below.
First: Remove Mulch
Pull back any mulch, or in my case here, leaves, so that you are able to put the lime directly onto the soil.
Second: Sprinkle lime
Sprinkle lime onto the dirt all the way around the base of the vine.
Third: Work Lime into Soil
Using a hand fork, (or rake, whatever you like to call it), scratch the soil lightly to move the lime down slightly below the surface. Do not dig down deep, so that you do not disturb the root of the plant, just lightly scratch the surface.
Lastly: Replace Mulch
Place the mulch back as it was, and enjoy your future blooms!
I have this white Henryi and the red (burgundy) one on the same trellis, but I will have to research the name of the red one. It escapes me right now.
The year 2020 will be my year of experimentation! I will be conducting my own trials to determine if the age old practice of lime should be abandoned or continued for many years to come.
*This advice is for Southern Gardens. If you live in the north, I am sure it will work, but you would need to wait a month (or so) later, after your ground thaws.
Do you grow clematis?
For more detailed information about growing clematis, including pruning information, visit the Gardener’s Path.