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Can I prune/thicken a leggy evergreen clematis?

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Tumtetum Fri 14-Apr-17 21:13:10

I've got three Fragrant Oberon evergreen clematis which I planted last year. One has got lots of leaves and flowers throughout - the flowers are opening now and smell delicious which is why I planted them. One has a lot of leaves and flowers at the top but the first foot/two foot of growth is very bare, mostly just stem with no leaves. The other one has a few leaves and flowers but again the base in particular is bare. I know you're not supposed to prune evergreen clematis so I'm a bit nervous about cutting into them in case they don't grow back. Has anyone grown these and know if they are likely to thicken up over time? I don't know whether to leave it and see if it improves next year, or if it would be better to cut the stems back once they've finished flowering.

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