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What's happening to my clematis?

Good morning,

I have 7 clematis which I bought as 9/10cm potted ones and then repotted into larger pots. Planning to let them develop their roots a bit more before planting them in the ground.

I've been keeping them in a reasonably sheltered spot against an East facing wall and they've been growing up and clinging onto the support wires that were already there in preparation for roses but are yet to have anything else growing on them.

They all seemed to be fine and starting to grow, three of them really took off straight away.

I've been checking on them to make sure that they were getting enough water and using the watering can when needed. But we've had rain constantly the past week and I could see that the potting soil was getting watered from that.

Gave them a top up this morning after the very warm day yesterday.

To the point - when I was looking at them last night and again this morning - I spotted that all of them have some darkening leaves lower down - going a dark greyish colour. One of them has this on every leaf - apart from the new growth which is bright green as you'd expect.

I'm hoping that this isn't the start of clematis wilt. But looking at photos online and descriptions of the various problems that can afflict them I can't be sure exactly what it is.

It's affecting both the large flowered hybrids and the viticellas - seems to have struck them all at the same time - I hadn't noticed it before yesterday and I've been checking them regularly.

Any ideas? Thank you


  • Not wilt, it's powdery mildew, dry roots and poor air circulation cause this disease to spread. Not a killer but looks awful, especially if it gets to the flowers. I use a sulphur spray or you can try Rose Clear, better as a preventative than a cure.
  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 5,150
    I posted a pic of similar looking (purple) leaves a few years ago and was reassured by others that it wasn't wilt, but climate related.
    I think sometimes leaf discolouration can be down to young greenhouse raised plants feeling a bit of a chill when they first go out in the 'big wide world'.

    When I get small 9cm clems, I pot them on into deep pots for stronger root development too. I tend to chop them down a bit to encourage more stems from lower down and always plant them a few inches deeper than they originally were.  My clematis now grow much better since following these tips I picked up on the forum. 😊 

  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,182
    Thank you both. Will keep an even closer eye on them
  • Not all varieties of clematis should be planted deep.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,555
    Bums!  Didn't know Star of India was susceptible and I have a new one to nurture.

    @Richard Hodson - is it a whole group of clems that don't need to be planted deep or just a few here and there?
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,364
    Thank you for that information I will find it useful for me as well.

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,182
    Well they're romping away at the moment. All of them are speeding up growth. The leaf issue doesn't seem to have got any worse and it doesn't seem to be affecting them.
  • LastboatLastboat Posts: 61
    Thank you so much for asking this question as I also noticed this on my clematis today! Everything I read pointed to clematis wilt and I was so worried I’d have to cut the whole thing down. I can sleep soundly now... 💤 😴 
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