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How Fast Do Clematis Grow? Facts & FAQ

closeup of a clematis vine

Clematis is one of the most commonly grown decorative plants in the world. There are dozens of primary species and hundreds of separate cultivars. People love clematis for their climbing ability, their beautiful flowers, and their seasonal scents. Clematis can cover brick walls and carefully placed lattice giving great cover to specific areas. Seeing a beautifully covered wall in blooming clematis can get people asking how fast clematis grow. How tall can it get? Is clematis easy to grow?

The answer is that it depends. There are so many different types of clematis that the growth rate and climbing rate can be very different. This brief overview will cover how quickly clematis can grow and how large certain species can get.

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How Fast Does Clematis Grow?

Clematis can grow very quickly in the right conditions. Certain cultivars of large and thriving clematis can grow as much as 30 feet in a single year. Smaller species will grow anywhere from two to ten feet in a year. That averages out to a few inches per month. Clematis generally grows faster in the spring and summer and slows down during the autumn and winter months.

The average clematis vine can grow two to five feet in a single year.

The growth rate of clematis will largely depend on how big the subspecies can get. Some clematis varieties only grow to be five feet tall in general. Smaller varieties will not grow as quickly as large varieties. Large clematis cultivars can grow 30 feet tall and 12 feet wide. These species will grow much faster overall than small species.

Clematis vines will grow vigorously once they are established but getting clematis established can be a tricky proposition.

clematis vitalba
Image Credit: Anitham Raju Yaragorla, Shutterstock

Establishing Clematis

Unlike some plants, clematis starts off very slowly. Clematis will not grow quickly in its first year. Many clematis starts fail. Some plants pop up and grow quickly in their first year to establish themselves. Plants like common vegetables can grow and spawn edible produce in just a few weeks. Clematis is not like that. It is not uncommon for clematis to behave anemically in its first year. Many young clematis vines will grow very slowly, won’t flower, and won’t climb. This can lead some people to think that their clematis is dying or failed to thrive. That is not necessarily the case.

A common phrase in the clematis community is that in year one, clematis sleep. In year two, clematis creeps. The first year is touch and go, hit or miss, and you won’t see much in the way of climbing or growth. However, in year two, if the clematis establishes itself, it will start growing with gusto.

How Tall Can Clematis Get?

Some clematis is very short and will only grow three to five feet tall. Other cultivars are extremely happy climbers and will climb up walls and lattice to heights of 10, 12, 20, or even 30 feet. The height that clematis will climb depends on the climbing environment provided, the amount of sunlight, water, and the species of clematis that you are growing.

Slow growing clematis will take years to reach appreciable heights. Some thriving cultivars, like evergreen clematis (Clematis armandii), can grow very fast and eat up a lattice in just a year or two. Evergreen clematis is one of the most common species. It is always green, always in season, and grows very quickly. Evergreen clematis is a voracious climber and can easily reach heights of ten feet in just a few years.

clematis flower
Image Credit: Pixabay

How Tall Should Clematis Lattice Be?

Clematis lattice can vary in height from three feet to eight feet. The most common heights for lattice are 4 feet and 6 feet (48” and 72” respectively.) A sizable six-foot lattice should be more than enough climbing space for most species of a clematis vine. The final decision will depend on how tall your individual choice is supposed to get. It would be silly to get a seven-foot lattice for a plant that is only expected to grow three feet tall. Likewise, it would not be a good idea to install a four-foot lattice next to a climber that is expected to grow ten feet in a year. Tailor your lattice choices to the individual species of clematis you decide to go with.

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The individual speeds and heights that specific cultivars of clematis can grow will depend on the species itself. Some species are extremely quick growers and will climb multiple feet in a single year. Other species are stubby, slow, growing shrubs that will only reach heights of a few feet over a few years. Be sure to research your individual clematis species for more refined information. With dozens of species and hundreds of cultivars, there are a multitude of different ways that clematis can grow.

Featured Image Credit: Ed G, Unsplash


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