Clematis flowers are a gorgeous and vibrant addition to your garden, whether you’re a beginner or an expert. They’re easy to care for and aren’t too fussy, which makes them especially good for busy bees like myself.
They’re also perennials, which means they come back year after year. I’m hoping to grow some on a trellis and create a cleamtis-tunnel!
Eventually, you might notice your clematis refusing to flower, however. They’ll bud like crazy, but never pop. The easiest fix for this problem is, of course, fertilizer!
Fertilizing your clematis can encourage blooming, which is the whole point of them, after all! The nutrients in a high-quality fertilizer will replenish the soil around your clematis’ roots. Since they’re perennials, they can sap those important nutrients that promote blooming.
A high-quality fertilizer or plant food can and give you beautiful purple blooms year after year. It can also improve the root strength of your clematis, which is especially important if you’re growing your vines over a trellis or pergola. There are tons of wonderful benefits of investing in a high-quality fertilizer for your clematis, and I’ve listed my personal favorite products for you down below.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- Why you should fertilize your clematis
- How to choose the right plant food for your clematis
- How a high-quality plant food will help your clematis bloom
- And much more!
Below is a quick list of my favorite plant foods for clematis. Keep scrolling to learn more of my top tips to choose and use the best plant food for your clematis vines.
Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster
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Jack's Classic Bloom Booster
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Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food
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Jobe's Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer
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Miracle-Gro Shake 'N Feed Rose & Bloom Plant Food
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My Overall Top #1 Pick: Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster
All of these fertilizers are wonderful for your clematis, but Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster is my #1 favorite!
Firstly, I love a good organic fertilizer. Although I don’t plan on eating my clematis (in fact, some varities are poisonous), I do like to use organic products wherever I can. I have a fairly nosy dog, and organic fertilizers are usually non-toxic. They’re also less likely to burn my plants.
My mom uses this product on her roses, but she turns it into a liquid fertilizer for easier application (because of the thorns). You can leave it in granular form without worrying, but I also find it kind of fun to steep it in water for a few days and then simply pour it over my plants.
I also love how gentle this fertilizer is. The 3-9-4 nutrient composition is gentle enough for newly established clematis, as well as ones that are many seasons old. The higher phosphorus (middle) number means that you’ll be seeing more beautiful purple blooms. You can also use this fertilizer on other flowers in your garden, including peonies (but check out other fertilizers great for peonies here as well).
In fact, this fertilizer is specifically a bud and bloom booster, and that high phosphorus content really helps. It also contains probiotics that enhance soil quality, which means you’ll have stronger roots and bigger blooms for years to come.
You also get a really good deal with this fertilizer. It comes out to about $2.65 per pound, which for a product of this quality, is a steal. As far as a high-quality product goes, this one is definitely affordable.
Part of that affordability comes from the slow-releasing nature of this formula. You only need to feed every few months, roughly three times a growing season (beginning, middle, and end for one last burst of color). This back could last two, maybe even three seasons depending on how many clematis you have.
Overall, this is simply a wonderful product for your clematis. It gets rave reviews and my mom actually uses it for her roses (and let me tell you, that woman would never put anything on her roses that she didn’t love 100%). It’s also not overpriced; you get all the benefits of a high-quality organic fertilizer without breaking the bank. Just in case this one isn’t for you, though, I have a whole list of great clematis fertilizers and plant foods down below.
Top 5 Best Plant Foods For Clematis
In a hurry? Check out our top 5 picks below! Keep reading to learn more about these wonderful plant foods for your clematis.
- Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster (My Top Pick)
- Jack’s Classic Bloom Booster (Best High-End Pick)
- Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food (Longest Lasting Pick)
- Jobe’s Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer (Best Organic Pick)
- Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Rose & Bloom Plant Food (Easiest To Use)
Why Should You Invest In A High-Quality Plant Food For Your Clematis?
Clematis vines are a divine addition to your garden. You can quite literally make a clematis tunnel by growing them over trellises or pergolas. If you’re ever been envious of romantic gardens in period-piece movies, I highly recommend growing them.
A wonderful thing about clematis is that they’re perennials, meaning they come back year after year. As long as you can keep them healthy, they’re a one-time investment. Perennials are great for gardeners on a budget, or simply gardeners who don’t feel like redoing all their hard work year after year.
But perennials can be a little tricky. They require specific winter care, including proper pruning:
As you can see, clematis vines should be pruned in the fall so they can properly regrow in the spring. Another thing that can help your clematis bounce back is a high-quality fertilizer or plant food.
Plant food for your clematis will be designed specifically for flowering plants. There are many important nutrients in fertilizer, but for clematis, we really want to see a high concentration of phosphorus. I’ll get into the specific nutritional components of fertilizer in just a bit, but for now, keep that in mind.
Of course, all of the products on this list are made just for flowering plants, so you don’t have to worry about finding one on your own. I’ve got you covered!
Another important consideration when buying plant food for your clematis is root health. You want a product that improve root strength, especially if you’re growing clematis vertically. When the vines stretch up high, they should be anchored firmly in the ground.
Personally speaking, I live in an area where we get a lot of storms in the summer. Strong winds and beating rain can really take a toll on your clematis, and you want them to have strong roots. Even if the vines take some damage, your roots should be firmly planted (no pun intended) in the earth.
Since clematis are perennials, they can sap good nutrients out of the soil after a couple of years. Soil isn’t necessarily designed for flowering plants, and there might not be enough phosphorus to promote blooming. Investing in a high-quality fertilizer or plant food can replenish those nutrients, which also improves the overall quality of your soil.
Lastly, a high-quality fertilizer can help to protect against diseases or pests. This clematis flower factsheet details everything you need to know about the various problems your clematis can have (aka problems that fertilizer can help fix!) Being able to recognize these problems is important so that you can properly diagnose and treat your plant. But, with the right fertilizer, you can avoid most of these issues altogether!
As you can see, there are tons of reasons why you should invest in a high-quality fertilizer for your clematis. Now let’s talk about how to pick the best product for your garden.
How to Pick the Best Plant Food For Your Clematis?
Knowing about fertilizer composition is important for gardening in general, but especially for flowering plants like your clematis.
Fertilizers and plant foods should always have a set of 3 numbers somewhere on the packaging. They look like this: 10-10-10. The first number represents the amount of nitrogen; the second represents phosphorus; the third, potassium. I’ll mention the specific formulas of each product in their descriptions below.
For flowering plants (including the beautiful plumeria, which require their own unique fertilizer) you want a high phosphorus content. Phosphorus promotes budding and blooming, which is the whole point of these beautiful plants, of course. For example, my top pick has a nutrient composition of 3-9-4. While there’s still enough nitrogen and potassium for well-rounded growth, the higher phosphorus content will ensure more flowers.
Stressing over the numbers on your fertilizer isn’t necessary, though. It’s not a make-or-break kind of thing—all nutrients are very important for growth. All of the fertilizers on this list have had their compositions scrutinized by yours truly, and they’ve passed my test! In case you’d like to know more about nutrient composition, I recommend this article about the big three nutrients in fertilizer.
Organic Versus Inorganic
While both organic and inorganic fertilizers are good for your garden, I prefer using organic fertilizers when I can, especially on plants that I eat. I don’t recommend eating your clematis unless you’re absolutely sure what kind you have. While certain varieties are edible, some are poisonous, so I find it best to steer clear of eating them in general. Regardless, let’s get into the pros and cons of both organic and inorganic fertilizer.
Organic fertilizers are great because they’re all-natural and usually non-toxic to animals. If your clematis vines aren’t fenced off, or if you have a lot of wildlife in the area, this is a safer option. Organic products are also less likely to burn your plant or crust on the soil.
However, organic products can actually attract wildlife or your pets depending on the ingredients. Products with bone meal, fish meal, or blood meal smell delightful to your furry friends. Keep that in mind when deciding which product to purchase.
Inorganic products are great because they often contain pesticides that help keep away annoying or harmful pests. They’re also usually less expensive than organic products, so if you’re gardening on a tight budget, it’s not a bad option to consider.
However, when used improperly, inorganic fertilizers can crust on the soil, or even overdose your plant with nutrients and chemicals. It’s imperative that you follow the directions on your product very carefully, at least for the first few applications until you know what your clematis can tolerate.
As you can see, there are lots of factors to consider when purchasing a product or your clematis. Just know that there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to the organic versus inorganic debate. Anyone who shames you for choosing a particular fertilizer type should be ignored—it’s all about choosing what’s right for you and your garden.
That being said, there’s definitely a product on this list that’s perfect for your clematis. Keep reading to learn more about all the wonderful options I’ve compiled for you!
My Reviews of the Best Plant Foods For Clematis
1. Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster (My Top Pick)
This fantastic fertilizer is one of my all-time favorites for flowers!
My mom personally uses this product on her roses and has seen amazing results; they flower like crazy now and never disappoint.
The 3-9-4 nutrient composition is gentle for developing plants, but the high phosphorus content is what truly makes this product a ‘bud & bloom booster.’
The only downside is that it does contain fishbone meal, which smells really good to dogs (especially mine). Make sure to keep your furry friends away from your clematis; even though it’s non-toxic, it can upset their stomachs.
|+ Designed to promote bigger blooms
+ Slow-releasing formula
+ High phosphorus content
+ Won’t burn your plants when used properly
|– Smells amazing to dogs
– Not a vegan/vegetarian product
2. Jack’s Classic Bloom Booster (Best High-End Pick)
This bloom booster packs a serious punch and is fantastic for established clematis.
I know it’s a little pricey, but hear me out.
This product has a nutrient composition of 10-30-20, which means you’ll be seeing clematis blooms like never before.
You don’t have to worry about it crusting on the soil, and liquid fertilizers work faster, so you’ll see flowers practically overnight.
The only downside is the nutrient composition; this is definitely not the product for young transplanted clematis vines. It’s too strong for them and should be applied to hardier plants that have been fertilized before.
|+ Water-soluble formula for fast absorption
+ High phosphorus content
+ Easy to use
+ Promotes strong roots
+ Best for hardy, established plants
|– Very strong nutrient composition
– Large bucket container can make storage difficult
3. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food (Longest Lasting Pick)
This budget-friendly pick is perfect if you want to give your clematis a high-quality product without breaking the bank.
The slow-releasing formula of this granular plant food means you only have to apply it once every six months. That’s perfect for gardeners like me who can be (just a bit) forgetful.
This product also has a ‘no-burn pledge’ when used properly, which is fantastic. Burning your clematis can result in browning leaves and even no blooms at all. That’s like going to the movie theater just to watch the previews!
The only downside to this product is the nutrient composition. Firstly, even though it isn’t specified in the pictures on Amazon, I did some digging and found out it’s 15-9-12. It’s good for early-season leaf growth, but it’s not much of a bloom booster. If more blooms are your goal, I would check out some other products on this list.
|+ Steady stream of nutrients
+ Slow-releasing formula
+ Very wallet-friendly
+ No-burn pledge
+ Can be used on indoor flowers as well
|– Low phosphorus content
– Contains microplastics
4. Jobe’s Organics Flower & Rose Granular Fertilizer (Best Organic Pick For Young Plants)
Jobe’s products have my heart, and I love that they have both organic and inorganic products. This rose & flower granular plant food is perfect for your clematis vines.
The 3-5-3 nutrient formula is soft enough for even newly-transplanted clematis, but of course, the higher phosphorus content means more blooms. I definitely recommend this for younger plants since it’s so gentle.
This product is also made with Biozome, which is a healthy mix of good bacteria that are specifically designed to strengthen your plants’ roots and improve overall soil quality. That sounds like a win-win to me!
The only downside to this product is that it does contain bonemeal, so it smells really good to dogs, so keep that in mind when thinking about applying this to your clematis. It’s non-toxic but can give them quite the stomachache.
|+ Easy to use
+ Designed to produce more flowers
+ Improves soil quality
+ Promotes strong and healthy roots
|– Contains bonemeal and smells good to dogs
– Not a vegan/vegetarian product
5. Miracle-Gro Shake ‘N Feed Rose & Bloom Plant Food (Easiest To Use)
And last but certainly not least, we have this easy-to-use plant food from Miracle-Gro!
Miracle-Gro is one of the biggest names in gardening, and for good reason, too. Their products are easy to find in stores and have pretty much guaranteed results.
This slow-releasing plant food has a nutrient formula of 10-18-9, which means it’s good for both younger and more mature clematis plants. Even though it feeds for up to three months, you’ll be seeing quick results thanks to that high phosphorus concentration.
It’s also really easy to use. I prefer to mix it into the soil, but you really can just pour some over the base of your clematis vines and call it a day.
The only downside is that it can be easy to be heavy-handed with this product. I recommend using half the recommended dose at first to get your clematis warmed up before applying a full dose.
|+ Trusted brand
+ High phosphorus content
+ Easy to use—just shake onto soil
+ Quick results
|– Easy to be heavy-handed and burn your clematis
– Not organic, but smells good to dogs because of bonemeal
My Top Pick: Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster
Even though all of these fertilizers are great for your clematis, I recommend Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster as my #1 pick!
My mom personally uses this product on her roses, which says a lot, because she’s incredibly protective of them! It’s designed to increase blooms, and boy, do we see that firsthand. The high phosphorus content in this product really makes your flowers pop, but the nutrient composition is gentle enough not to burn your clematis.
All in all, it’s gentle, organic, and even comes in a resealable bag. I really cannot recommend this product enough, but as I mentioned before, I would personally use any of the products on this list. If I had to choose, though, I would go with Dr. Earth Flower Girl Premium Bud & Bloom Booster as my #1 choice!
Final Thoughts On The Best Plant Foods For Clematis
Clematis are a romantic, vibrant addition to any garden. They can be grown on the ground, or up on a trellis, pergola, or any kind of stake you have on hand. They’re also perennials, which is fantastic if you want a permanent addition to your garden (I like ’em because I don’t have to replant them every year).
Fertilizing your clematis is the key to success, though. Before you know it, you’ll be living in a dreamy paradise of gorgeous purple flowers. I’m so excited for the next growing season and all the amazing flowers I’ll get to have in my backyard, and I’m even more excited for you to experience the same results!