Clematis Not Growing ( Top 6 Reasons )

Spread the love

Clematis tend to grow even in poor soil, so if yours isn’t growing or its growth is stunted then something might be wrong. The good news is that as long as the Clematis still has some leaves it should start growing once you figure out why it has stopped growing in the first place.

The main reason why your Clematis are not growing is because they need more water, as these are shallow rooted plants, they are prone to drying out. If the Clematis is not planted correctly, is root bound, or lacks nutrients then it will not grow. Non established Clematis will grow very little in the first couple of years because most of the growth takes place in the soil, in the third year the Clematis will really start to grow.

If you want to get your Clematis to start growing then my personal recommendation is to use a 6-4-4 liquid fertilizer Click here to check it out on

Clematis that are growing in plant nurseries are grown under ideal conditions, usually, this means plenty of water, climate control, and a lot of fertilizer. In these conditions, the Clematis grow really fast, but as soon as you take them out from that environment they might stop growing. It is fairly normal for newly bought Clematis to not grow for a while, they need time until they get familiar with the new growing location.

In the first year of planting the Clematis, the plant will mostly focus on growing its roots, and there will be minimal growth above the soil. If the buds of the Clematis are not opening then check out my recent article Clematis Buds Not Opening ( Top 5 Reasons & Fixes ).

Clematis Not Growing

If your clematis is not growing as expected, there could be several reasons behind its stunted growth. One possibility is improper planting or insufficient soil preparation. Clematis plants prefer well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Ensure that the planting hole is large enough to accommodate the roots and that the soil is adequately amended before planting. Another factor to consider is sunlight. Clematis plants generally thrive in full sun or partial shade, so insufficient light can hinder their growth.

Additionally, pruning mistakes can affect growth. Some clematis varieties bloom on old wood, while others bloom on new wood. Pruning at the wrong time or too heavily can limit new growth and flowering. Lastly, water and nutrient requirements should be met. Clematis plants benefit from regular watering, especially during dry periods, and a balanced fertilizer applied in early spring.

Earn a 50% Commission on each sale by simply sharing my guides with friends and family on social media, check out Flower Duty Affiliates

Needs More Water

One of the main reasons why Clematis do not grow is due to water, usually, the problem is the lack of water, rather than overwatering. Clematis have relatively shallow roots, and they need to have their roots moist to grow properly. If the soil around the roots is allowed to completely dry out, then the roots will also dry out. Usually, this will lead to the entire Clematis drying out.

A Clematis that is suffering from the lack of water will usually have only a few leaves, and will only grow new ones once it gets more water. In this case, it is a good idea to mulch the Clematis, as the mulch will protect the topsoil from drying out and will retain moisture around the roots of the Clematis. If you want to keep your Clematis in pots over the winter, then check out my recent article Clematis In Pots Over Winter ( In 6 Easy Steps ).

Not Planting The Clematis Correctly Can Stop It From Growing

Clematis are full sun loving plants, but they need to have their roots in a shaded area where the soil is relatively moist. Clematis will survive in partial shade as well, but it is less likely that it will flower and its growth will definitely be stunted. If the soil around the roots dries out often then the Clematis will have a really hard time growing. When planting the Clematis, make sure not to plant it so deep that the crown of the plant is covered, this will also stop it from growing.

Mulching the Clematis incorrectly can have the same results as planting them incorrectly, especially if the mulch covers the crown of the plant.

Clematis Will Not Grow It Is Root Bound

Root bound Clematis are the ones that have run out of space to grow in a pot, usually, the roots will just go in circles. These roots can constrict each other if they are overcrowded, this will usually lead to the Clematis not growing, not flowering, and even to the death of the plant. Clematis can get easily root bound if the pot is relatively small, and if you also grow some companion plants in the same pot.

To check if your Clematis is root bound, take it out of the pot, and if you see that at the bottom the roots are growing in circles then it is definitely root bound. If you do not have time to replant the root bound Clematis, then simply cut off the roots that are going in circles. Although this is not a permanent fix, but it will buy you some time until you get a bigger pot.

Ideally, root bound Clematis should be repotted in a larger pot, just make sure to cut off the roots growing in circles before you replant it. If you replant the Clematis with the roots going in circles then these roots will grow in circles for a long time until they start spreading out, and the end result will be that the replanted Clematis will still be root bound, but in a larger pot.

Due To Lack Of Nutrients

Clematis can grow in relatively poor soil, although getting them to flower in poor soil will be a massive challenge. Clematis need a lot of nutrients in order to flower, and if some of these nutrients are missing from the soil they will simply not flower. Nitrogen is extremely important to all plants when it comes to growing, if there is very little nitrogen available to the Clematis then they will simply not grow.

In this case, you can fertilize the Clematis with a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen. This will usually kickstart its growth in a matter of days, and you should see new leaves starting to grow in a week or so. If you also want your Clematis to flower in the current season, then you will have to cut back on the nitrogen. Too much nitrogen will make the Clematis grow really well, but usually, they will not flower.

Powdery Mildew

Clematis are prone to getting powdery mildew, although it is not fatal to the plants but it can really stunt their growth. Clematis that have powdery mildew will lose most of their leaves, which makes it extremely difficult for them to grow any bigger. If your Clematis gets powdery mildew every year, then replant it in a new location with full sun. You can treat powdery mildew with a fungicide, but unless you also fix the high humidity which causes the powdery mildew, the disease will simply come back. If your Clematis is suffering from powdery mildew, then check out my recent article Clematis Powdery Mildew ( Causes & Treatment ).

Clematis Not Growing Because They Are Not Established

It takes around 2-3 years for the Clematis to get established, either in the ground or in a pot. In the first year of planting the Clematis, it will only grow a couple of inches at best. The real growth takes place under the soil, where the roots spread out as much as they can. In the first year of planting, the Clematis will mostly focus on root growth, so do not worry if the Clematis isn’t growing taller in the first year.

In the second year, you will start seeing new stems and some growth, but the real growth will happen in the third year. In the third year, there will be a massive jump in how the Clematis grows, and the blooms will also be massive.

Key Takeaways

  • The main reasons why Clematis do not grow are because they need more water, incorrect planting, root bound, lack of nutrients, powdery mildew, and because they are not yet established.
  • In the first year of planting the Clematis, you will see little to no growth, this is normal.
  • The easiest way to kickstart the growth of the Clematis is to feed it with a high nitrogen fertilizer.