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help with 2 plants please- Clematis Jackmanii(?) and Rhodedendron(?)

Hi all, im new to the site, have recently begun gardening after 12 years of living in a flat and surviving on houseplants.  I used to garden with my mum and neighbour as a child/teen and remember a lot but not enough for these two beauties.image


This had fallen over when i moved in last June, I put a small trellis up and gave it what tlc i know and it has grown a good bit now and actually flowered till just before xmas and stayed green all winter except the bottom foot or two which went brown in Jan/Feb (seems to have come back well) but i was unsure what type it was, after some research i think it is a Clematis Jackmanii Superba but still not 100% sure.  The care tips for Jack are to prune in spring (too late now) and i have no idea how to even begin looking after him properly so am asking for advice.  Please help as this should be a beautiful plant.


 This naked specemin was almost exactly like this in July last year and is still in the same condition today, seems there may be some leaf bud starting on some branches, but only one or two and they have been like that for a few months- almost on the cusp of opening but not quite.  There was a little id card in the ground beside it which claims it is a Rhodedendron 'Catawb. Grandiflorum' but the instructions on it are faded and in gobbledegook.  If this is a Rhodedendron I would love to get it into good condition as i do like them, so any help on this one would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks(hopefully) image



  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    The rhododenderon may be in need of the soil acidifying if your soil is not already acid. In either case I would feed it with rhododendron food. Other than that, make sure that it stays moist throughout the summer, which should help it revive.

    The clematis would probably also appreciate some food - they are greedy feeders.

  • Thanks Alina, Geuss i will be making a trip to the garden shop then 

  • Also, any ideas on how to get the clematis to grow along the wall instead of all over itself?

    I dont have a drill strong enough to drill into the brickwork to attach a bigger trellis, this little trellis is held up by string and hooks screwed into the cement between the bricks! 

  • actually, how do i find out if the soil is acid?

  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    You can buy a kit at the garden centre - they're not very expensive, meant for a single use.

    Training clematis - how about hooks and wires? You might need rawl plugs to get them safely in the cement, but it should work fine.

  • Great, thanks, thats me got a few jobs to keep me busy and hopefully Jack and Roody (the Rhodedendron) will be happy little plants again soon

  • grannyjannygrannyjanny Posts: 34

    Jack will be easier to train when he's been pruned next year & you can see the new shoots sprouting upimage.I have several clems growing through shrubs, they look lovely too. I have bought several from Morrisons for under £2. I'm going to plant a passion flower through lonicera baggesens gold. I think the blue will look lovely against the acidic greenimage.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 23,540

    You can check here - to see if your clem is a Jackmanii.  If it is, I suggest you borrow a drill from someone as it would like to grow tto 3 or 4 metres and therefore needs a bigger trellis or lots more wires stretched across hooks and at 12 to 18 inch intervals up the wall.  Clematis are hungry and thirsty but don't like to have wet feet so give it a handful of pelleted chicken manure every spring and an occasional liquid feed of rose or tomato fertiliser until the first flowers open.   Next Feb or March, depending on whether it's freezing or not, prune it back hard to about 30cms when you see new shoots forming at soil level and feed it.  It will then put on new growth for the season.  You can then train these new shoots along youur wires.

    Rhododendrons like woodland settings with acidic soil enriched by leaf mould.  Yours looks starved so feed it with slow release pelleted chicken manure and give it an instant tonic of liquid rose or rhododendron food.  Make sure it doesn't get thirsty in summer and early autumn as this is when it forms its flower buds for next year.  Make sure you give it rain water if you live in ahard water area.  Yours doesn't look anaemic so the soil is probably OK but, if in doubt, give it an occasional drink of water with added sequesterd iron - available at good garden centres.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    I'm wondering whether the rhodedendron is in a rain shadow. It does look a bit close to the wall.

  • I Googled this plant and came up with lots of info.  It looks like a biggy - height after 10-15 years is 7ft, mature height 20ft  - However the sites I saw were all in the USA.  Hope this helps.

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