Taken from http://www.gardencrossings.com/Clematis-Care
Caring for Your Clematis Vines
Improving Your Success with Clematis
Clematis are one of the most coveted perennials of gardeners and landscapers alike. With a vast array of bloom sizes, flower colors, and bloom times it's easy to see why Clematis has become one of our best selling perennials. To help you succeed with our plants, we have compiled the following guidelines for you to follow.
Clematis grow best in locations that receive plenty of sunlight, at minimum they should receive at least 5 to 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. The roots should be kept shaded to keep the roots system cool and moist. In many instances, this can be done using low growing plants such as annuals, groundcovers, or low shrubs; otherwise, place 2-3" of pine bark around the base of the plant to help retain the soil moisture. If mulches are used, keep the mulch an inch or so away from the base of the plants to prevent problems with stem diseases. Besides planting them in a location which provides sunlight and maintains a cool root system, Clematis requires something for them to climb on or to twine around. Small, large flowered hybrids can be planted near trellises or on strings against a wall and the larger hybrids or species will require a more significant support such as a wire fence, a hedge, or a small tree.
Clematis Planting & Soil Preparation
Prepare a planting hole about 20" deep and 18"-24" wide. Loosen sides and bottom of hole so that roots can penetrate. Mix removed soil with lots of humus, or a compost/pine bark product, sand, one handful of lime. Partially backfill the hole with this mixture before planting. Slip the plant from the pot without disturbing main root ball. Handle the plant carefully to avoid damaging the stems. When planting Clematis species, plant them at the same depth as it was in the pot and Clematis hybrids should be planted at least 2 inches deeper than it was in the pot. Planting Clematis in this manner will minimize the likelihood of Clematis wilt and will help protect the roots from cold during the winter months. Press the remainder of the compost/humus and soil mixture firmly around the plant, leaving the area slightly mounded to allow for settling. Water them thoroughly after planting.
Applying mulches in the spring will help keep the root system shaded and cool. The soil should be kept moist but not wet. Be sure to keep them watered during hot weather and dry spells. The soil should be kept moist, but not wet. They are moderate feeders. Fertilizers can be applied as needed to promote healthy growth. Adding aged cow manure or compost to the soil every spring will provide clematis with the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. Yearly applications of slow release fertilizers in the spring are another effective method of delivering nutrients to clematis. If you prefer to use liquid fertilizers, they and be applied monthly between April and July, making the applications when the soil is moist. So hopefully this helps..what I told one gardener because it was dry at the bottom might need to have a soaker hose put on it, and also fertilize it. IF some of you would like to share pictures of your blooming clematis that would be a special treat...thanks in advance for that. Till next time, this is Becky Litterer from Becky's Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa