Help my clem is dying!

We've planted a new clematis is a big tub behind our shed to hopefully climb up some trellis, the area is very shaded and we've noticed that almost overnight the leaves have gone brown and most of it has wilted badly, the flowers seem ok and there are some new shoots at the top and a couple down the bottom, we've moved it into the sun hoping that it will pick up, we're very new at this gardening lark and have had problems in the past with these plants, any advice gratefully received!image



  • lindsay2610lindsay2610 Posts: 101

    Hi Nina, what kind of clematis is it? Do you know the variety?  This will help advise what to do.  Generally, clematis like their roots in the shade and flowers in the sun.  Also some pictures would help if you can?

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    Does the big tub have good drainage? Clematis love soft rich soil, but don't like to be waterlogged.

    Cover the surface of the pot with gravel or something else to shade the root-ball.

    It could also be the shock of planting, as gentle as you might have been, sometimes a plant just doesn't like to be handled.

    At the worst, it could be Clematis wilt. Certain varieties are more prone to this disease (big flowering type 2) which can occur on even the healthiest looking plants.

    All the top foliage will just wilt and die, but so long as the Clematis has buds beneath the ground, (which is why Clematis are planted deeper than their previous pot) it will re-shoot at first opportunity. This could be the following spring, so don't chuck it out, just leave it to recover.

  • Ok to answer some questions, the clematis is in a good sized pot with good drainage (pebbles in the bottom) def planted deeper than it's last pot, we have moved it to the sun now rather than the shade,



  • lindsay2610lindsay2610 Posts: 101

    Looking at the flower in the bottom of the pot, it looks like maybe a Julia Correvon, which is a Viticella Clematis.  These are very resistant to clematis wilt, plus wilt tends to turn the leaves black/brown more gradually than it sounds in your case. It could be another variety altogether of course!

    As Wintersong says, get some pebbles in the pot to shade the root ball, and as it needs some extra tlc, I might be tempted to get some extra protection around the pot too, maybe lean something against the pot on each side to give the roots some extra shade.

    I think it may have been the original shady spot which was the culprit here.  If it's okay at the top and flowering, I would leave it.  Make sure you cut it down to 6-8 inches in February time to get a good display next year.


  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    When my pot clematis were new I had them in the sun and shaded the roots by putting slates in the pot leaning them on the canes, they didn't look too much of an eye sore.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,618

    That pot is way too small and is also thin plastic which means it will heat up quickly in sunshine and freeze easily in winter thus alternately cookin,g or freezing the roots.

    If you can't plant it in the ground, I suggest you get yourself a decent ceramic, frost proof pot at least 60cm wide and deep and then transfer your clem, planting it 4" deeper than it is now.  Alternately, use one of those terracotta look alike plastic pots but line the inside with bubble wrap as heat and cold insulation.   Use the best quality compost you can afford - John Innes no 3 with some added fibrous matter from a peat free Levington's type compost.  Mix some slow release fertilser into the compost before planting - blood, fish and bone or pelleted chicken manure - and make sure your clematis is kept watered.

    Give it a liquid feed at least once a week during the growing season and a boost of specialist clematis feed as a top dressing every spring.

    The Vendée, France
  • Thanks for the replies, have been away so only just back.  To answer more of your questions, the clem is a Rebecca grown by the comapny Verve.

    The pot is not plastic is it teracotta and we were advised to buy this size by the garden centre.  We did put lots of pebbles in the bottom to aid drainage, and used a good make compost again as advised by the garden centre.

    We have also fed the plant with a good plant feed.

    In recent days it looks even worse than the original picture and so am assuming that we've lost it image

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    Don't throw it away. Just let it be and it will reshoot from beneath the soil either later this year or early next year with more shoots than beforeimage

  • DiggerSeanDiggerSean Posts: 52

    Deffo don't throw it away as Wintersong suggest. I would cut out any dead stems, and hopefully it will regrow from below ground. I have several Clematis is terracotta pots and they do fine, but they do need extra attention in terms of feeding and watering.

    Wilting and die back can be quite common in group 2 clematis, especially newly bought ones. They can either put on too much top growth so the roots can't support them anymore, or because they aren't being treated with commercially available fungicides succumb to wilt. But generally they do recover and once they get older and more established are more robust.

  • I have very good news! my Clem has come back to life with avengance! image it has new shoots coming up from the bottom already! and even where I thought the leave were dying there are new shoots, I am very very pleased I didn't throw it away!! thanks for all the advice.

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