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What is going on with my Clematis?

I have three beautiful clematis that grow up and over a large trellis. They grow well and are covered with buds and flowers every year. The problem is as soon as they get to their best they start dying from the bottom up. The leaves turn yellow then brown, at which point they start to fall off. I have removed the leaves as soon as I see it start to happen but it makes no difference. The roots are in the shade under slate and the tops are in sun.

Anyone have any ideas as to how to stop this happening and what could be causing it.



  • cairnsiecairnsie Posts: 388

    The slate could be heating up in the sun and cooking the roots having the oposite effect to what you are wanting.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,594

    Take away the slate and give them a good mulch of garden compost or spent planting  compost instead.   Make sure they get a general feed in early spring - blood, fish and bone - and specific rose or clematis food at intervals until flowering ends or mid July, whichever comes first.   Don't let them get thirsty in hot or dry periods.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • don't feed until they are in flower and only a weak solution .they need shade for feet ,sun for head and lots of drinking water.don't forget to plant them deep in the soil to avoid damage by rot.image

  • Thank you all for your advice. I shall certainly try what you have suggested especially with the feed. I have also heard that yellowing of leaves can be caused by a mineral deficiency that can be treated with epsom salts. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,594

    Epsom salts contain magnesium which is good for terating chlorosis, or yellowing of leaves, especially on evergreen subjects such as rhodos, camellias, conifers.    Clematis are generally hungry plants so need a broad range feed for roots and foliage with extra oomph for flowers.  Propietary clematis feed will have eveything they need and rose or tomato fertiliser which come in liquid form are good for an instant tonic.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thanks obelixx. image I think I shall feed them this year with a clematis feed and see if this makes a difference. I would normally just use Miracle Gro so maybe it's not quite rich enough.

  • It sounds like clematis wilt. If the above treatments do not work try cutting all of the growth right down to soil level when the wilt occurs, give the plants a feed, a good deep much around the base of the plants and cover the soil around the base with slabs of some kind.

    Clematis like to grow with their heads in the sun and their feet in the cool damp shade.

    Good luck.

  • Hi Joyce.

    I always thought clematis wilt started at the top and worked it's way down? Mine's the other way round from the bottom up. And it's all three so I'm thinking maybe it is the feed that's affecting them.

    I'm going to buy a good clematis feed and see what happens this year. Will post some pics in the summer.image

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,594

    You are right Joolz.  If the top half of the clems are all OK, you haven't got wilt.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Tentative suggestion. Clematis naturally flower at the top and if the stems are not spread out the bottom bit will tend to die back. The stems need to go diagonally. This might solve your problem.

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