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What am I doing wrong?

I have 3 Jingle Bells clematis plants, two here on a NE facing wall, one on a south facing fence. They grow well in spring but all go like this from summer onwards - this is the first year I've left them to their own devices and they're flowering as you can see, but as a clematis virgin I don't know what I'm doing wrong here. The soil is quite good, alkaline, can dry in summer so I water them - their feet are in light shade. The garden is sheltered and we do get the wind blowing over the wall side, but the fence is solid where the other one is. Any help appreciated!


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,850
    It's quite crowded at ground level.
    Your clematis is having to compete with the roots from what looks like foxgloves and toadflax that are within inches of the stem.
    The foxgloves (and other plants around it) will be taking valuable nutrients and water from the soil.
    If you can clear the area of plants about 2 ft around the clematis it'll help a lot.
    Each spring a good thick mulch of rotted farmyard manure of some sort will give it a good tonc.

    It's also planted too close to the wall, but not much you can do about that now.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 744
    Thanks Pete. The foxgloves only came up last year, the clematis had free range for two years previously. Could I cut them back after flowering and move them, or would I damage the roots too much? 
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 9,850
    I've had clematis in my garden but never tried to move one.
    I did dig one out years ago and the following year found that a bit of remaining root must have sprouted as a new plant appeared, so it's likely you can, but see what others think first.
    There are lots of clematis growers on the forum.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 744
    I'd only be able to move them further away from the wall as there's nowhere else for them, but I do like sprouts. 😉
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,544
    Your Jingle Bells is a group 1 clematis so you can, if you wish, prune it as soon as flowering finishes then feed it generously and train new growth more horizontally and diagonally to increase flower power.

    Even if you don't prune it, feeding, mulching and training it will help no end as will reducing competition at its roots.  Watering in dry spells will also help.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,033
    edited 14 January
    I grew a group one alpina many years ago great when in flower but scruffy for the rest of the year. Think it suffered in a similiar way in that it was probably too dry at the roots as summer progressed. I did try cutting it back for a few years after flowering but it lost it's vigour.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • Slow-wormSlow-worm Posts: 744
    Thanks Obelixx, I'll do that.
    I don't think they were thirsty because the tops wouldn't survive, but I will feed them. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,918
    The winter Group 1s don't need a lot of moisture, as they should get enough from the general conditions, but it's certainly very tight to the wall. The small flowered early ones also prefer poor soil and drier, well drained conditions, and a bit of shelter, so if the wall's a bit exposed, that might also be a factor. I haven't grown this one though, as I don't have a suitable site for it. Many of those winter ones are speckly flowered which I don't like too, so I go for the slightly later ones - alpinas etc. 
    I grow all my G1s in raised beds to counteract the wet, but I've also moved clematis without any problem, especially if they haven't been in too long.
    I wouldn't feed just now though. Wait until it's flowered, then do the pruning, a little feeding, and some careful mulching - don't bury it.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • bédébédé Surrey Hills, acid greensand.Posts: 1,268
    edited 15 January
    If you just removed the dead stems it would make a big difference.

    As for the weed competition, something gentle like Malt Vinegar sprayed just on the weeds whist shielding the clematis.
    "Have nothing in your garden that you don't know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,016
    WHAT, surely you are joking???
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
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