Clematis make an ideal cut flower. The delicate look of the flowers is a contradiction to their suitability for cuts. Clematis stems are fibrous and not easily damaged. In addition, this allows them to rehydrate easily. Most cut clematis will open bloom from buds indoors, and flowers will stay fresh for up to 10 days or longer.
When growing clematis with an eye to being able to cut the flowers, it is good to keep this in mind as you train your stems in early spring. While naturalized, scrambling stems can be used for cuts in lower arrangements, a straighter stem is sometimes easier to work with.
Train the stems you are planning to use for cuts on thin, 5 or 6 ft. bamboo canes. These are available at garden centers. Clip the stems to the canes, tie the stem with something soft and secure like a strip of fabric, or horticultural velcro that can be cut to size works well. By keeping the stems separate and not tangled, it will be easier to harvest longer stems for cut flowers.
Both flowers and flower buds can be cut. Place them in water, and use a product to extend the life of cut flowers in the water of your arrangement.
Growing Clematis in Winter
Excessive moisture on a dormant clematis is something to avoid, so consider this when you decide what to do in the winter with your container grown clematis.
In winter, clematis containers can be moved to a more sheltered position against the house, behind a hedge or moved indoors to a garage in order to protect the flower from the elements. For heavy containers that are not suitable to move easily, bubble wrap can be used around the container, and a burlap or horticultural fleece over the plant itself.
In many climates there is no need to move or protect the containers. Excessive moisture on a dormant clematis is something to avoid, so consider this when you decide what to do in the winter with your container grown clematis. In many climates, there is no need to move or protect the containers. For containers that you cover, in late winter, inspect the plant and if the soil is dry, you can water the plant lightly or layer some snow on the soil in the container.
Growing Clematis in Spring
In the spring, replenish the soil by removing the top 4 inches of soil and replacing it with the planting mixture that you prefer. Periodically (every year or two ) for clematis growing long term in containers, unpotting the plant and changing the soil is recommended. This is an opportunity to move the plant to a larger container if necessary.