Sheena’s best Clematis Mulch

Clematis benefits from an annual spring application of mulch for two reasons.

Credit: Clearview Hort

1 28-litre bag mushroom manure
1 cup (250 mL) lime
1 cup (250 mL) bone meal
1 cup (250 mL) alfalfa meal
2 big shovelfuls well-rotted garden compost or leaf mould
Blend together well and apply as described below.

Clematis, the queen of all vines, benefits from an annual spring application of mulch for two reasons. First, mineral-rich mulch provides the energy and nutrients for fast-growing, vigorously blooming clematis. A pre-summer mulch also insulates the roots from heat, necessary for shallow-rooted vines that require cool roots.


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Generally, it is recommended to mulch plants to a maximum of 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in.), which allows the free exchange of air and water and poses no danger of suffocating or rotting the plant’s root system. Clematis is an exception to this rule; it benefits from a deeper mulch of 7.5 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in.), spread evenly along the drip line or 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 in.) around the plant, making sure to allow a mulch-free space around the woody stem. Deeper mulch provides protection from heat for the roots and helps retain moisture during drought.

Apply this mulch annually in spring, after the last frost and when the ground has warmed. The garden compost adds beneficial bacteria and microorganisms and brings the root zone to life. The mulch breaks down over the season, providing valuable organic matter and nutrients; the lime helps sweeten the pH and allows the vine to access the nutrients fully.