Q&A: clematis wilt

Horticultural advice from the experts at the RHS
Question: I planted 3 clematis plants last year. They all had a couple of blossoms but at the end of last summer they all started to have brown patches on their leaves and were gradually wilting. I tried to use several anti-mould and anti-wilting products but nothing helped.
Many thanks, Zuzana

Answer: It could be that your clematis were suffering clematis wilt. This disease normally attacks over quite a short amount of time and gives the appearance of the plant having suffered from drought. Usually affecting large flowered hybrids, they fail from the top downwards. They usually reshoot from below ground level and can recover. The other possibility is that they just didn’t receive quite enough water in the first season of establishment - such a vital time.

If you need to replant, plant deeply - up to 15cm deep, to give the clematis more chance to re-shoot from below ground if wilt occurs. Water a couple of times a week with a large can of water in dry spells and you should see a reasonable display of blooms, even in the first year.

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Only a few questions per month can be answered. For further advice on handling problems in your garden, visit www.rhs.org.uk/advice/index.asp.

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