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Clematis problem.

Discussion in 'Pests, Diseases and Cures' started by Santolina, Jul 29, 2021.

  1. Santolina

    Santolina Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi all, I have an on going problem with my clematis of which I have 10 in the garden. Each is pruned to about 12 inches above ground in the autumn - and each spring come back to life. By about May they are growing well but the leaves at the bottom of each plant become blotchy - then brown and shrivelled - then fall. Slowly the problem climbs up the stem even though at the top the flowers seem happy. By now, late July, the plants look a dreadful shrivelled mess. I sent some leaves to the RHS who said that it was not wilt and suggested a nutrient shortage so I used a proprietary clematis feed plus an occasional Epsom Salts but the problem returns every year.

    According to an RHS soil sample the garden is a pH of 8.1 and is Medium for Phosphorus, Potassium and Magnesium.

    Any suggestions for a cure would be really gratefully received.
     
  2. noisette47

    noisette47 Total Gardener

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    Hello Santolina, welcome to GC. It sounds more like water deficiency. Clematis really hate to dry out and show their disapproval at the drop of a hat! A thick mulch or flat tiles or stones over the root area helps, but watering in dry spells is pretty much essential.
    Depending which varieties you're growing, perhaps you could prune less drastically now that the plants are established? Viticellas and texensis will take being chopped right down, but pruning to live double buds (wherever they appear on the stem) in February, is recommended for the large-flowered hybrids.
     
  3. Santolina

    Santolina Apprentice Gardener

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  4. Santolina

    Santolina Apprentice Gardener

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  5. Santolina

    Santolina Apprentice Gardener

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    The first photograph shows the blotching starting late May/early June. The second photograph shows the same clematis now in late July. Most of my clematis seem to suffer the same problem whether they are against a wall or in mid garden
     
  6. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    I've tried Clematis in my garden over the years and have only had ones that just about survive.
    I've given up now, I think they like some people and some people they dont.
    And I know which category I fit into.:biggrin:
     
  7. JWK

    JWK Gardener Staff Member

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    I have little experience of clematis, your photo does look like a nutrient deficiency though. As you have been down the epsom salts route already I would take noisette47's advice and not prune back so drastically.
     
  8. pete

    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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    As a failed clematis grower I would agree with @noisette47 its a watering problem.

    They like a cool damp root run, and nothing gets that in my garden, not in the summer anyway.

    I did read once that many years ago they were grafted onto the wild "old mans beard" which started off the usual advice that they like chalky soil.
     
  9. hoofy

    hoofy Gardener

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    Mine looks like that ATM after a wonderful flower display a month or so back. I assumed it was a nutrient issue so I fed it a few days ago.
     
  10. hoofy

    hoofy Gardener

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    I had been watering mine every morning and did consider that if mine was a watering problem it would probably have been too much water.
     
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    • noisette47

      noisette47 Total Gardener

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      Perhaps a good, deep, slow soak once a week would do? That's what mine get @Santolina, the first photo certainly does look like a nutrient issue but I think it's unconnected to the later, brown shrivelled leaves.
       
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