Problems with clematis on other plants

opheliathornvt zone 5May 3, 2013

I have about 50 clematis plants, so I'm not a total newbie, nor do I consider myself an expert by any means, but I have had problems growing clems on plants. I brought this up when Miguel was still with us, and he said he'd never had a problem, but I have. I have bare spots in a large juniper and think I killed a dwarf arctic willow by growing clems on them that then shaded them out. This year, I have decided to take Huldine out of a crabapple because I notice the crab has no leaves right where the clem was, and my forsythia bloomed poorly this year, again where Mme. Julia Correvon and Betty Corning grew last year. I am now only going to grow clems on trellises and obelisks. For anyone who can grow clems up other plants, do you have any secrets to impart? Do you cut them off the plants after blooming? Could it have anything to do with my cold zone 5 location? Are the plants I'm choosing unsuitable? Thanks for any feedback.

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I can't think that your choice of vines are unsuitable or that your cllimate zone makes any difference. And I should think most of the shrubs you have chosen would be particularly well-suited to tolerating a clematis.

I grew all manner of clematis into trees and shrubs in my old garden and never had an issue with either the host plant or the vine. And some of the clems were big, robust vines (C. montana, orientalis, terniflora). They only got pruned at the appropriate time of year (late winter) if they got pruned at all. I can only say that any evergreen hosts were those that had a pretty branchy, open growth habit, like rhodies. No conifers.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 6:48PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

Well, I'm really at a loss to explain it, then. There must be some factor I'm overlooking - it can't be only me. Thanks for the input, though.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:01PM
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NHBabs z4b-5a NH(4b-5aNH)

I don't grow Mme. Julia Correvon, but I know that both Huldine and Betty Corning are pretty large plants. Perhaps they are creating too much shade for the size of the shrub or tree? Are any of the clems you have on shrubs less robust? If not, perhaps trying a smaller or more sparsely foliaged clematis would make them coexist better.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 11:14PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

That may be another factor. I've grown the clems up the outside of the plant on the dwarf arctic willow and the juniper. The crabapple, though, had the clem planted close to the trunk and so Huldine went up pretty much straight, inside the tree. That's where the crabapple didn't grow many of its own leaves. The rest of the tree looks good. I always intended to spread Huldine out so it didn't all cluster in one place, but it frequently got away from me. I wonder whether other gardeners shove, I mean, encourage, clems to grow largely inside a plant and only peek out here and there and wonder whether they're better than I am about spreading the clem out so it doesn't impact the host as much. I appreciate all the feedback, though. I'm the only gardener in my family, so it's nice to discuss ideas with others who have different experiences.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 12:01PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

I have had problems growing Clematis up or over other plants. I have had bare spots and even death. It isn't just you.

I currently have Huldine up a purple leaf plum but it is a scraggly tree so I don't care if it hurts it.

I've got to go wrangle Juuli over the barberry which is makes bare in spots but better that than the hydrangea it is now laying on due to wind.

Alionushka killed a hebe. Petite Faucon killed a caryopteris.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:25PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

Thank you - I was starting to think I had some strange jinx!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 8:07AM
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My clematises make bare spots on bushes too. Half of a juniper is bare from Pink Champagne, Spirea is not killed yet, but is heading in that direction, thanks to Hagley Hybrid. Sweet Autumn grows up an obelisk, till it reaches the top - about 10' high, then reaches over and climbs a mature spruce tree. Its branches are bare in that area. The only coexistence that seems to work is growing them up a trunk of a tall tree with some fencing wrapped around the trunk.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 8:03PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

I've never tried that, but was hesitant to take a chance with a large tree, wondering whether the clem would hold in too much moisture or something. I think I'll stick to non-living supports for now or plants I don't care too much about, like willows. Thanks for all the feedback.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 7:59AM
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