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Clematis wilt and watering regimen advice please!

VithVith Posts: 12

Hi. I have two clematis varieties, Westerplatte and Comtesse de Bouchaud in the garden.

The Westerplatte gets around 2 hours of direct sunlight and is in a large pot in a very windy location. Its about 4 years old but has always seemed to struggle and certainly never made its 1.8m. Today I noticed it had large inky black areas on its leaves.

I looked this up on the internet and it seemed to fit clematis wilt so I followed the advice and cut the plant off at the base of the affected stems (which was all of them). I was talking to a lady I vaguely know later and she said I was possibly over-watering it and it may have been water-logged (I'd been giving it about 15 seconds worth of water any non-rain day from a watering can (sorry I have no idea how many litres this will be!).

Similarly I've been watering my Comtesse de Bouchard in a similar way which is planted directly into the ground. This has always done better but still generally suffers from mildew or dark marks on the leaves or wilting bud tips at some point in most years. I'd always put this down to its north facing location but could I be over-watering these ones as well?

Both are roughly June flowering. I'd previously heard somewhere that clematis like lots of water but is this wrong? Does anyone know the correct watering regime for these two plants? I'd be hugely grateful for any information.


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,811

    Are you renewing some of the compost each year Vith? When they're in pots they're dependant on you for their nutrition so feeding and watering is very important but the pot grown one could simply be exhausted. Check that it's not waterlogged anyway - and put it in a bigger pot if it's a bit congested.The site is probably less of an issue but if you can move it to a more sheltered spot it may help.  

    It's easy to overwater plants and it causes more issues than cold, but if the C de B in the ground has decent, free draining soil, there isn't a lot of other plants in competition for nutrients,you're pruning correctly and  feeding it well, there's no obvious reason for any problems. Most clematis will also have a few marked or dark leaves now and again. Can you post a few pix to give us all a better idea? image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 30,009

    Clematis don't like to be thirsty but they hate being waterlogged even more.  It's much better to water once a week and thoroughly than to give a constant dribble which eiither doesn't penetrate or doesn't drain.  

    If you can, move Westerplatte to a sunnier, more sheltered position as it needs more than 2 hours a day.   Comtesse de Bouchaud shouldn't ned extra watering if she's in the ground unless you have a drought and the whole bed is wilting from lack of moisture.

    All clematis are very hungry plants so you need to give them a good dollop of specialist clematis feed every spring and a good mulch of garden compost in autumn to keep the soil and roots healthy.  If grown in pots, they also appreciate a liquid feed of rose or tomato food once a week from spring to flowering time.  This regime will also help make them strong enough to fight pests and diseases and recover from wilt if they get it.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • VithVith Posts: 12

    People, I cannot thank you enough! Brilliant. Thank you.

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