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Clematis Piilu Advice

We bought a clematis from our local garden centre in May/early June and planted it against a South facing wall, although in partial shade. It's shaded by a nearby pine tree, although in a bed raised about 1m above ground level.

It was watered regularly during the dry spell and given a seaweed based plant food in July. However it's never really grown and it's looking a bit sad now.
It is just taking it's time to settle in, with the leaves starting to go because of the colder weather?

Or do I need to do something different so that I don't lose the plant?



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,149
    Clematis can, in my experience, take a yer or three to settle down and start to pt on strong growth but are worth the wait and effort.  When you planted it, did you bury it deeper than it was in it's pot or at the same depth?  Doing the latter encourages extra root and stem formation over time and also protects the roots from some drying out.

    Doesn't matter if you didn't as you can fix it by mulching generously with well-rooted garden compost and /or bought potting compost and some soil improver such as well-rotted manure or stuff sold in garden centres.   Do this every autumn and spring but make sure the soil is damp first as you don't want to lock in dryness.   Clematis need plenty of water and regular feeding.   Every spring give it a generous handful of slow release clematis or tomato or rose fertiliser.  

    You should remove all those little green plastic ties and give it more, tensioned wires to climb as it will get stronger every year.  Do that now whle it is going dormant for winter.

     Piilu is a group 2 for pruning which means it just needs a light prune after flowering in June and then it will produce a second flush later on but I find it's much easier to to treat them as group 3s and cut all stems back to the lowest pair of buds on each stem in March then I give a liquid feed of tomato food as an extra boost.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • It looks good from here, Adrian.  It is deciduous and will eventually lose its leaves.  Piilu is classed as a Group 2 cultivar which means just a light prune, but if I were you I would chop the foliage back to ground level in February and help the plant to develop a large root system by watering frequently. 
  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    I also take the labels off and keep them in a safe place indoors. The labels go brittle after a year or so. If you keep them you can always refer back to them if you forget pruning group or flowering time.
    (I keep mine in an ice cream tub with Garden plant labels written on it).

    Only other thing is do keep it protected in the spring from slugs and snails they love new clematis growth.
  • adrian_maidmentadrian_maidment Posts: 41
    edited November 2018
    Thanks all for the advice. The ties have been removed now.

    It was planted to pot depth, so hopefully it's just been growing roots and so will grow well next year. I also plan to mulch my plants this weekend so that should help.

    I'll prune it in the spring and keep a close eye on it. We tend to get lots of slugs and snails, although less in this raised bed, so it'll need some protection.

    Thanks again,
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