The potting shed
Advice on clematis
The potting shed
Any advice on my clematis. I planted it 6 weeks ago and have been watering it well every day. It was looking good until a couple of days ago. Now the plant is dropping and its looking poor. Only the top of it looks green and healthy
Vendée, Western France
I can see several problems there. The soil looks very dry, it doesn't look as though you planted it deep enough and those ties are strangling it. Did you soak the pot and thus the roots before you planted it? If not, it's really going to struggle to hydrate itself.
I suggest you remove all the ties, cut off the wilted stems, give it a good drink (5 to 10 litres poured slowly) and then dig it up with all the rootball intact and plant it in a bigger pot than t came in using some good John Innes no 3 type compost. Water it well and keep it shaded while it recovers.
That will give you time to stretch and tension more wires across that fence. You need at least one more between the soil and the one you have and then more every 10 to 12"/25 to 30cms going up the fence. Once that's done you need to work some life and texture into the soil by forking it over and adding masses of well-rotted compost and/or manure.
Give your clematis time to recover and grow new shoots. They are thirsty, hungry plants so keep the compost moist but not sodden and, when new growth appears, give it a weekly feed of liquid tomato food or seaweed fertiliser - not too strong tho.
I'd keep it in the pot till autumn now and nurture it and then plant it out, making sure it's buried a few inches lower as this helps promote new shoots and stronger roots. Then you remove the canes and gently twine the shoots round those wires. If they do need tying in initially, make sure they are loose so the stems can move in the breeze without snapping and also grow thicker without being strangled.
Be patient. Some clematis can take a year or two to get their feet down and settle but it's worth the wait. Guide new growth into the wires as it appears and train it as horizontally or diagonally as possible to encourage flower formation.
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
All good advice there. It could certainly do with a good soak first and foremost, it looks like my mother's been watering it - giving her viticella a good drink turned out to be about half a cup every few days! I'm sure you've given it more than that really, but it is so dry and hot at the mo that it's gone into a sulk!
And what's with those ties? It looks like you've raided your bondage cupboard 🔗😄
Just make sure you use a safe word 🤣