Clematis Alpina eaten up

MichelMJApril 9, 2014

Dear Forum,
I am not a very experienced gardener, and I just bought a clematis alpina, and a clematis Warsawska Nike, which I planted according to instructions found on the web and on the label. Inclined, shade for the feet, etc.
They are about 40cm apart leaning towards a wooden fence. The young plants were about 40 cm high when I bought them.

After two days, about half the leaves of the alpina were seemingly eaten. The next day, all leaves were gone. The Warsawska Nike is growing fast and does well. I had scattered some anti-slug pellets at their feet, but found no "corpses".

Has the Alpina known predators other than slugs that won't attack the Warsawska ? Can I still revive my alpina, and if not, which other clematis would you recommend ? Thanks a lot for your advice !

My apologies if this topic has already been treated elsewhere, a quick search didn't reveal any obvious thread.

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Do you have rabbits or deer?

In my garden, I have lost 3 alpinas to voles, small mouse-like critters that tunnel at or just below the surface and eat roots. Now all my Clematis are planted in buried hardware cloth (wire mesh) cages.

Perhaps you can put above ground cages a couple of feet tall around your clematis to protect them while they get established. Unless they were tiny, they will probably regrow if protected from munching.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 8:23PM
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No rabbits or deer.
I am not aware of rodents running around (we live in a strongly urban area, but have a garden), but I will protect the plant with a mesh cage, thanks for the suggestion.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:07AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Mesh won't help. Where you are it is almost certainly snails. They adore clematis. The only way I can get any spring growth is a: to prune quite high i.e. at least 2 feet rather than the recommended few inches and b: resort to slug pellets in early spring. Otherwise they will gnaw away at every last fragment of green and even strip the bark off the brown stems. In my garden their favourites are jackmanii, Etoile violette, Miss Bateman and Perle d'azure. The are less keen on the Sodertalje. The montana is big enough to fend for itself. The alpina is new and I was ready for them with a ring of pellets.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 6:17AM
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Thank you for this nice Easter present in the form of useful advice !

Saturday, I had thrown the eaten up Alpina away with sad resignation, and replaced it with a "President", which is only 2 feet high, so I can't prune it for the moment. Yesterday night, I was in my garden and checked it, three slugs were making their way to it, which I discarded. I have just put pellets around it as you advised.

The Warsawa is now nearly 1 meter high, and slugs dont' seem to like it. I think it is safe now.

Happy Easter !

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 7:27AM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

Are there roots left of the Alpina? It's not uncommon to have clems eaten down to the ground come back from the "dead". I had the same problem with a clematis I was growing in a pot last year. The slugs went after it with a vengeance, so I moved the pot to my hot driveway (where no self respecting slug would go) and brought it inside every night until it got larger. Sure enough, it sent up new stems better than before. If you still have the roots of the Alpina, I'd pot them up and baby them a while and see what happens. Gardening is all about hope!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 8:42AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Yes - I would hang on to the alpina if you still have it. Some of my Clematis have been eaten down several years running.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:17PM
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Wow, thank you both for these encouragements, I will definitely try to save my alpina, it bears promise of such beautifully hanging light blue flowers !

I will practice hope, :)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 4:23PM
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