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Problems with new clematis plant

NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,623
I have a herbaceous Clematis, Diversifolia Durandii, which I carefully repotted it from the skinny clematis pot it arrived in, into a bigger David Austin rose deep pot. I used a good potting compost mixed with a little garden soil. It’s been watered with rainwater mostly. It is currently in my polytunnel, which gets a good airing. It grew vigorously to begin with and I cut it down to about a foot and it shot up again. Now it’s looking poorly:

1. The leaves are beginning to look rather pale and one or two are discolouring - not sure if this is a nutrient deficiency or normal for this variety.
2. One stem has withered and dying - I have cut it off - not sure if this is clematis wilt or just damage, I’m not an experienced clematis grower...

Apart from getting it in the ground pronto (planting out was delayed for various reasons) anything I need to do? @Marlorena, hope you don’t mind me tagging you as I think you grow this one, but any advice from anyone would be most welcome!


  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,579
    Too warm and muggy in the PT?  I'd put it outside somewhere sheltered and shaded from the sun.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,623
    Could be, @Obelixx, though its pretty well ventilated as the velcro on plastic window covers don’t stick any more and one is rolled up permanently now. I need to start hardening it off fully, so yes, will move it outside now, thanks.
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,344
    edited April 2020
    I've not seen that black fungus looking thing on mine so far, so can't help you with that one Nollie..
    Where that foliage has withered I would cut that back to where it's still alive.. or that might be a dead stem to cut out... can't see it properly there.. I do occasionally get a dead stem that needs removing, but I've not known it to wilt..

    The foliage does not look healthy on your clematis... I would have just planted it in the ground from a small plant.. but everybody does things differently, but I can't be doing with all this potting up business...

    Something else I wouldn't have done is to cut it back like you did... all you need do, as with any clematis, is remove the leading tips on the shoots, they will then develop a new pair of shoots in place of the one removed.. this makes clematis bushy.. I do it with all mine as they go.. I think most people do...??

    I let them get to a few feet high first, then remove the tips.. the new shoots can also be pinched out...  it can delay flowering a bit but that's ok.. slugs eat the tips of mine early on which makes the plant produce more stems... then the slugs disappear when it's dry...

    Here's mine at the moment.. shoots from the  base... I shall keep an eye on these.. but I've got plenty of plant going on above..

    ...I have found this one of the easiest of clematis and needs little fussing over...
    Sorry I can't offer you more advice as to what's wrong with yours exactly but I feel once in the ground, your clematis will take off...
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,344
    I've just checked HMF and I see it has lanuginosa as one parent, so yes it's possible to wilt,  inherited from that species... but other than perhaps an occasional stem I've not noticed it to any great degree on this one fortunately...
  • mikeymustardmikeymustard Posts: 454
    edited April 2020
    Probably way too much heat/humidity in that poly for it (IMHO)

    Edit: sorry, didn't notice someone had already mentioned that  :)
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,623
    Hi @Marlorena,

    Many thanks for your feedback. I would have planted it out directly, and planned to, but the new bed (heavy clay) it’s going in needed a lot of compost and some manure to improve it and I couldn’t get any for ages because of the shutdown. The bigger pot was a holding pattern! As it’s classed as a group three, the advice online was it to cut them down to a foot on planting and they also say the same for herbaceous clems, so I did that when I repotted it. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to do that, so I guess just my rookie error, placing too much faith on online advice (this forum excepted of course!). I have cut the dying stem right out as there was no green further down. Yours looks much healthier!

    @mikeymustard, no problem. It is extremely well ventilated and unheated (and we have had very cool weather the last month or so) but it is a distinct possibility.

    It’s now sitting outside in a sheltered spot, so all I can do is hope it improves from it’s maltreatment and get it planted out pdq!
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,344
    Oh that's ok @Nollie , I don't think you did anything wrong at all, and if that's the advice you went by, and I expect Mr Hodson would have advised that too... I tend to do things differently and just let them grow in the first year... I do cut it right down to ground level in winter but once it starts to grow I pinch back some stems, not all though..

    Do hope it improves for you... the main problem with herbaceous clematis for me is always having the right support for them, sometimes it can never seem tall enough or adequate...
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,623
    I have an 8ft obelisk that it will be sharing with Rose de Molinard, probably 6-7ft when I sink it into the ground. Finger’s crossed that’s big enough, assuming it recovers. Cheers, @Marlorena you have made me feel better about cutting it down.
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