Clematis: How to Beat the Summer Heat

A clematis flower in the sun

When it is so hot that you cannot personally find the will to venture outside, just imagine what your clematis must be experiencing?  Despite what you may have read or heard though, clematis can take the heat, so please don’t panic about them enduring through high temperatures.  Of course, this is not the time to leave them completely to their own devices.  Here are some royal recommendations you can utilize that will make them more comfortable during the soaring mercury levels of summer. 


Preparation is important.  Start out by checking your weekly weather report so you’ll know if and when the temperatures are going to skyrocket.  That way you can adjust your watering schedule accordingly to accommodate the summer’s peak heat days.


Water your clematis regularly and deeply… preferably in the early morning hours.  This is because the soil is still cool and the roots can absorb more water and evaporation will be minimal.  This watering technique makes your clematis better equipped to be able to withstand the heat of the day.  For more information about watering.


Not only does mulch dress up a garden, it also helps to retain moisture in the soil.  This lowers the ground’s temperature and reduces run-off.  An added bonus is that mulching helps to deter weeds, which is a good thing since these unwanted intruders grow like gangbuster in the summer months.  So, be sure to add two to four inches of organic mulch to your garden beds.  To help prevent rotting, remember to leave a two to three inch space cushion around the base of your plants.

What to Do If Things Really Flare Up?

So, you have plan, your watering is under control and your beds are mulched.  What should do you do if it feels like you are smack dab in the middle of the Sahara Desert?  The following two ideas might seem a little over the top, but if you love your babies the way I do and you are experiencing countless dog days in a row, you too might be willing to go that extra mile or two to safeguard them.  Here in Irvine, CA it can get extremely hot and at times we also can simultaneously get blasted by the nasty Santa Ana winds.  Trust me, when this phenomenon occurs, it gets really hot and I have no problem going out and misting my babies a couple of times a day (see Fogger Mist Nozzle). 

The second idea is one I haven’t tried out personally, but I thought I would pass it along.  I knew a gardener who literally used to put up several large, off-white umbrellas each day to shade her plants during the hottest hours of the summer days.  I should mention that her “made in the shade” garden was quite lovely.  I really admire her dedication to opening and closing four or five parasols on a daily basis.

Here's hoping your clematis (and you) can beat the heat this summer!