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Nelly Moser dying back

My mother has a Nelly Moser which she’s had for about 8 years and it used to flower quite well but she never pruned it back in spring and it was all woody stems. I pruned it back to about 15 cms in spring 2021 but since then it grows about 30 cms and then in June dies back. It did exactly the same this year, it just goes brown and brittle. Does anyone know why this happens. I was quite surprised that it started growing again this April given what had happened last year.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    Leave it alone now, and make sure it isn't dry or starving. If there are loads of other plants around it, that could be a problem re competition for those nutrients and water. Plenty of organic matter, and a suitable feed. They do best in shady sites too. 
    It's a Group 2, so doesn't really need pruned, unless it's outgrowing the space. If you want, it can be tidied a bit after flowering, and may have a second flush, depending on location and climate.
    Cutting it back to 6 inches is too far. If you  want to prune hard [they can be treated as Group 3s for a later show ] only do it back to a decent leaf joint  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • grahamdjargrahamdjar Posts: 2
    It doesn’t have any competition and I’ve told mom to make sure it doesn’t dry out. The space it has is a small rectangle against the house which means that the roots are well protected from the sun, which I know clematis prefer to have their roots kept from. This won’t recover this year and whether it’ll reappear again next year I can’t predict as I hadn’t expected it to do so this year. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 47,198
    That's a myth I'm afraid. What large flowered clematis need is a cool root run, so that they can get their roots right down, and can then access moisture more easily in drier spells. If they're watered correctly from initial planting, that encourages those roots to get deeper, and that offers them good protection. Light watering encourages roots to stay nearer the surface, which is no use. 
    They also need a decent, rich soil, which means plenty of organic matter added if the soil is light. That variety prefers a good amount of shade to do well - a north, or north east aspect is ideal. It gets fried in too sunny a site. 
    A small rectangle against a house will always tend to be drier than a more open site too.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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