Clematis wilt!!!!!!What to do? Why?

meyermike_1micha(5)May 14, 2009

I am so so diappointed!

I bought dozens of clematis last year, and the year before just to have a beautiful vine grow upward with buds, then wilt and die.

It is especially happening to my huge flower ones, especially white.

I am so aggrivated.

I called the nursery where I bought them, and now they decide to tell me there is a problem with many of these plants, a common condition called "clematis wilt", and no explanation why this happens. ooohhh

So then they tell me I should of bought wilt proof ones that they also sell...Why don't they tell us unsuspecting consumers this, before we buy them and then have to dig them up and toss them to replace them again?

I am so so disappointed. I wait all winter and I get this..

Is there anything one can do about wilt, or should I replace them and just accept nothing can be done?

Please help me. What would you do?

Thanks so much..:-(

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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Wilt isn't usually fatal. They tend to grow out of it. Clematis are not instant result plants. It can take three to five years before they do much.

It is often the result of the leafy growth growing more than the roots can support. Pruning all Clematis down low when you plant and the first one or two springs after planting helps with this.

There are varieties that don't wilt. Do you know the names of yours?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 3:14PM
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I really needed to hear this..:-)
I love my plants!

I thought for sure I was just going to loose them...I didn't cut back any of them last fall, and I will this time...Should I still cut back the old growth or is it too late for this growing season?

I am not sure of the variety. BUt I know they both grow huge white flowers...It did well last year when I planted them from the greenhouse in the spring. But come to think about it, even last summer I lost a few vines to wilt then too.

You really encouraged me. I will not dig them up. Even though I may loose what is above ground, maybe what is in ground will still live..

Thankyou so much!!!!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 4:01PM
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DO NOT cut them back in fall! You will stimulate new growth by doing this. Not a good thing to do right before frosts. The best time for pruning Clematis in your zone is probably early March, when you will be able to see fat buds on vines.

It is not late to cut old vines now. Cut them back and fertilize your plants. Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 4:17PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Alina is right, don't cut them back in fall, cut them back in spring.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Cutting back clematis in the cold zones after a hard frost does not induce growth. No plant will grow after a hard frost. Hard frosts lead to deep winter where nothing grows :)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 9:30PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

I cut all my clems last fall, and they rebounded this spring with amazing results! My Crystal Fountain especially loved it I guess. She is bushy and growing like nuts. But that being said, I was a total newbie and didn't know any better. This time I will wait until springtime. However, it doesn't appear to have caused any problems at all. Will post pics later today.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 7:36AM
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Mike, the large flowered hybrids are most prone to clematis wilt (mostly the pruning group 2's). The species clematis and those that are hybrids very close to the species (the viticella and integrifolia hybrids) are quite resistant - I've never experienced wilt with one of these.

And the information above is very good......clematis wilt is seldom fatal, although it may vary from plant to plant as to how quickly they recover. Would it help you to know that much of my very large clematis collection at my old garden was comprised of vines that were returned to the nursery I worked because of wilt? I took them home, planted them, gave them some TLC and they all recovered nicely :-) Most clematis will outgrow a tendency to wilt after they are about 5 years old.

A couple of tips to avoid or recover from wilt: plant deeply in a well prepared hole and cut back hard each season for several years. Do this regardless of variety. This will encourage a strong root system and more stems with a greater ability to withstand wilt. If you have wilt, cut back all affected foliage but otherwise treat the plant as usual with proper watering and fertilization as necessary. And to avoid the problem entirely, select resistant types.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 9:06AM
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mimicook(Z6 SW Mo.)

mine are blooming and hate to cut them now but will if needed the leaves are black from the ground up and are about halfway up the plant now on several of them...i planted a new one the other day and it is now getting it too,. so should i cut them now even tho they are blooming the big ones are about 5 years old now.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 9:52AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Clematis wilt starts from the top down.

If you have a problem on the bottom leaves it is something else. Did they turn yellow first? Many type IIs drop their lower leaves due to drought stress or just because in some climates.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 12:58PM
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Aw man!
I can't thank you all enough.
I feel very encouraged...Funny, some of the vine are coming up replacing the dead wilted ones anyway..
Some with buds...I hope at least these ones make it.
Gardengal48, I have seen you all over this forum helping others out and many succeed because of your kindness and knowledge.;-)
Thanks everyone and I will let you all know what happens in a couple of weeks..I will even snap a picture if they bloom.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 1:42PM
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mimicook(Z6 SW Mo.)

i called the conservation office for here and since we have been having lots and lots of rain they said it was probably that they were too wet. and to pull the mulch away from them and help them to dry out but as soon as we quit having rainy weather to put the mulch back....thanks for the info ...i didnt know that the wilt started from the top down....

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 2:20PM
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