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Clematis dying....

DocJamesDocJames PenarthPosts: 15
Only really got into gardening this year as other half isolating with her mother whilst I work in A+E. Parents kindly bought me a couple of clematis, one of which is a Clematis armandii. Other one still going great guns.

Was planted in my South Wales garden towards the end of March in a plantar with fresh compost and some fertiliser seeds, in the wooden plantar you see. Planting side of wall is directly North facing in a walled, fairly warm and sheltered, garden. No frost since about February (way before planted). Cold feet and hot head which I thought was perfect for them.


Initially it went nuts and looked really good. Then the odd couple of leaves started falling off by seemingly pinching off along the stem and then just hanging for ages before falling off. Over the last week, the growing stems have now started to discolour and now look about to die. The base still looks very strong and green and healthy. Pics below if that can help.

I really don't know what is going on. Initially I thought I'd overwatered it as using a drip irrigation system, watering them twice a day. I then scaled that back to every other day which seemed to coincide with them starting to do badly. So I haven't watered it for a few days now although the soil remains slightly damp but is drying out and not much in the way of rain recently. But it's getting worse. I'm tempted to start rewatering it in case that's the reason although I suspect that is only coincidence. My other thought was it was wilt but everything else looks very healthy and the compost and everything is brand new. It's not the geraniums interfering is it, although they have only been in there for the last few weeks?

Please help if anybody can. Really don't want it to die!

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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,023
    edited May 2020
    Never going to thrive in that wee pot - sorry
    Cut the dead bits back. It'll only just be establishing just now, but it's not big enough for those clems
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DocJamesDocJames PenarthPosts: 15
    Really? How big would they need to be? Not after a huge amount, only to cover a bit of trellis.

    Any idea on the cause of the dying leaves?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,023
    They need to be in the ground. They're huge plants, but it also needs to be in a sunny, sheltered site. North facing isn't ideal.
    Damage will just be weather - probably wind - they don't like that.
    I've never grown it - I don't think it would like my conditions and climate here  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DocJamesDocJames PenarthPosts: 15
    Thought clematis liked having the feet in cool ground ie North facing, and the heads/leaves in heat ie South facing? Thought that wall would be perfect 
  • lydiaannlydiaann Posts: 291
    I agree, armandii needs to be in the ground as they are eventually very large plants.  I find west-facing is the best, north would put it in the way of too many cold winds.  However, they are worth persevering with as they give back in February/March.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 48,023
    Thought clematis liked having the feet in cool ground ie North facing, and the heads/leaves in heat ie South facing? Thought that wall would be perfect 
    Nope. You need to look at the specific requirements for clems.
    Cool doesn't mean north.  :)
    Those need a sheltered, warm site.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • DocJamesDocJames PenarthPosts: 15
    Unfortunately, don't really have an option to plant in ground. Pots themselves are 2ftx1ftx1ft and wooden.

    So just to clarify position, it's in a courtyard with the house north of the wall. Only real winds in the back are from the south or west, other 2 aspects are protected by the house or the surrounding houses but even they're fairly well protected. Front of the house can be brutal though! Pic below shows sun at the moment, top of picture is North. Clematis is planted by the red mark in line with the 12 arrow. Gets incredibly hot in the sun.
  • mikeymustardmikeymustard Posts: 495
    @homeLN8IwlRu regardless of the wall's direction, I think the issue is the box is drying out. Armandii really are big, Brutish creatures and need lots of space for both tops and roots I.e.in the ground, and a warm south/west facing home.
    The notion of clematis liking their heads in the sun and feet in the shade is a somewhat simplistic saying, and refers to their liking some moisture at the root (normally provided by planting around the base or mulching). 
    Does this wall get any sun at all? If you replaced it with a smaller and more shade tolerant variety, I'd still be worried that the plant would prefer to flower on your neighbour's side of the trellis (if that is indeed a party wall).
  • DocJamesDocJames PenarthPosts: 15
    Thanks for all the thoughts and comments so far.

    The other side of the wall is a sort of shared car park - all the houses back on to the car park area and can overlook each other, so we wanted more privacy, hence the trellis. Some of the neighbours shower and their windows are rather transparent and I'm no sort of voyeur.... And bare trellis is not as nice as free covered trellis! It gets sun from around 4 pm for a good 3 or 4 hours at the moment and longer next month.

    So assuming that taking it out is over the top, does it just need watering more? I thought I was initially overwatering it but it did seem to be doing well being soaked every day and the pots have a layer of gravel at the bottom with plenty of drainage and are raised off the ground  and sit on gravel anyway.
  • mikeymustardmikeymustard Posts: 495
    I'd take it out: even if it doesn't this year, by next summer it'll have outgrown its space. Either way it's never gonna be happy
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