Tomato feed killed my clematis?
I recently bought some tomato feed for my clematis. i have three: one well established, planted in a pot outdoors, and two from last year, still small but already flowering in the conservatory. i had fed the bigger one some tomato feed before (bought from wilko, generic brand, can't remember), no problem.
a few days ago, i bought a bottle of verve tomato plant food concentrate (with seaweed and magnesium) and poured a bit on the three plants. i did not dilute, but then again i didn't before when i fed the bigger pot. all three plants started to wilt and die. the leaves are flacid and darkened, the stems on the smaller have all collapsed.
it probably has to do with the feeding, as they're were doing fine before. i only fed them because i was told it would improve flowering, but i'm now heartbroken that i may have killed them. is there anything that i can do to reduce damage and maybe save them for next year or is it hopeless and i should bin them now? any help much appreciated, thank you.
Simple - you should never use concentrated feed without diluting it. Basically, you have poisoned them.
However, if you flush the plants with lots and lots of water they may recover.
A salutary lesson. If in doubt, follow the instruction.
thank you bob, i've just watered the biggest/smallest pots profusely and will water again later.
the other one is a bit complicated but i will try to remove the plant carefully from the pot and flush it. not holding much hope for that one, unfortunately, and it was my favourite...
i'm a novice (as everyone here was one day) and will read instructions more carefully from now on.
Last edited: 08 April 2017 12:43:18
Fingers crossed Lolla!
As you say you're a novice I'll dare to proffer some advice (this is just my take on it).
For the first couple of years you are trying to keep the plant alive and get it established in your conditions so I wouldn't be offering young plants any feed. If they have outlived their pot and compost (which usually contains about 6 months' worth of nutrients) then I'd pot it on into a larger pot.
Once you get to the point where it is ready to go out into the garden then the plant should be able to go hunting for the nutrients it needs in the soil. You can mulch it in spring to add goodness into the soil every year thereafter.
The only time I feed my plants is when they permanently live in pots. Like a Bay Tree that I've had for about 10 years in a pot - I give it slow release fertiliser beads each spring.
Hope that helps give a general picture.
We all have to learn Lolla. Hopefully you can recover it. Clematis in pots need a bit more care than in the gorund, but the main thing is to replace some of the soil/compost in the pots each year if they're staying in pots and not being planted out. Then keep them well watered, especially in hot dry spells. They don't need masses of food, so don't worry too much about feeding anyway.
If the small ones are staying in pots (and I'm not sure how small they are) pot them on regularly into a pot with good depth and plant a bit deeper too. They don't need to be indoors either - a conservatory would be too hot and drying for them now. Even a tiny plant should be outside and just kept in a sheltered spot till it gets bigger and sturdier.
I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
thanks cloggie, i will keep that in mind.:)
i thought young plants needed feeding in order to grow (i was planning to keep my clematis potted), but perhaps it's sometimes unnecessary.
here's a picture of one of the small clematis a couple of weeks ago, i had kept them indoors during the winter when they were dormant (they were bought last autumn) and this one started to climb the chair. this is the "medium" one, the other is smaller and the big one is a 2/3 years old planted in a bigger pot outdoors. i do keep a few plants in the conservatory, but was planning to find a spot outdoors for them this week. if they don't recover, well, at least i've learnt what not to do in the future. (the picture looks a bit small, i couldn't resize it)
As a cautionary note for all new gardeners, if you're keen to make things happen 'asap' then you picked the wrong game!
I posted earlier that I waited 2-3 years for a paeony to bloom and I've gone and found a new one under a bush in the garden that I potted up last year and this year it has no buds so that's another 12 months of keeping the thing alive until this time next year to see if, and what colour, it flowers, if it does.
Gardening is the ultimate in wait and hope but when that paeony eventually flowers, I'll be jumping about like a nutter because the rewards when they happen are amazing and life affirming.
Just my experience - yours might vary!
Don't beat yourself up over this Lolla, I'm new to clematis and have discovered all manner of do's and dont's. The mistake you made is very easy to do, especially when these plant feeds are marketed as though we cannot manage without them.
What I'm learning about clematis is the need to establish a strong root system as priority over top growth. I've got two young plants, bought about a year ago and have kept them well watered with a mulch of homemade compost over the top. New shoots are coming through but I was tempted to feed like yourself until a good friend and gardening guru advised me to stick with just watering. I do hope your plants pull through and wish you good luck.