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Clematis plant being eaten!

I have a Clematis Arabella planted in the ground and growing up towards a trellis fixed to a fence. The new growth looked very healthy until I noticed several leaves were being nibbled. Today I noticed that the growing tips on each part of the plant had been munched off completely. Each part of the plant is about 12" high (attached to canes) so is it likely to be slugs or snails? Sadly the same happened last year when the plant was stripped of all leaves. I have 2 other clematis plants in pots not far away from Arabella that are doing fine. Any ideas or suggestions to halt another flowerless summer?


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    Slugs and snails love new clematis shoots.  Give the plant a serious drink and some fed to compensate and then scatter, very lightly, some wildlife friendly slug pellets around the base.   If you have none and can't get them, go out with a torch at dusk and after darl and hand pick the slimesters and dispose of them.   You'll need to repeat that till your clematis has outgrown them.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Many thanks for that I did suspect they maybe the culprits! Don't have any wildlife friendly slug pellets so guess I'll have to go out after dark watch to catch them out.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    I find it's mainly snails here, the smaller ones with yellow in the shell, usually striped.  I often find them hiding in cool shaded areas near the base or behind bits of trellis.  If it's in a pot, also check under the rim.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for the tip. The plant is in the ground but in a narrow border along the edge of a path, in fact the border is full of a perennial geranium which keeps the clematis roots in the shade but of course makes plenty of hiding places! I've seen quite a few of the striped shells so will be on the lookout for them after dark.
  • Things are looking up for my clematis! Did as I was advised gave the plant a really good drink & feed also put a decent layer of fine gravel around the base in the hope the snails don't like it. Went out at dusk two nights ago and found at least 15 snails lying in wait.... well they were in close proximity! None seen since and one of the new shoots has escaped the snails so hoping the plant will be strong enough to out grow the snails and flower. Will keep a close eye on things as the leaves got completely scoffed much later last year after it had tried to flower. Thanks again.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,545
    Well done.  You'll need constant vigilance for a few weeks till it gets up beyond serious snail damage but it will be worth it.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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