Whats up with my clematis??? or is it normal?

virginiamommaJune 28, 2010

Hello everyone..

Ordered different types of clematis.. in the spring.. well.. not sure why some just seemed to die... infact... no idea cause I am a terrible gardner... thats why?? LOL

question for you, I look at your photos and am astounded at all the glory!!! how in the world do I get that look?? I say to myself

!! just MAGNIFICANT.. when I cant even get my clematis to grow?? for instance.. they were all ordered and then planted.. and well.. when thier new, do they just do nothing the first year?? as in why are they only a foot off the ground and all scraggly.. I have what I think is left.. a Betty corning and a Jackimini... or Jack something you all know what I mean.. are they suppose to be all dark brown and dried up at the base ... and then upward green.. or lush and green from soil/mulch on up?? what the heck am I doing wrong.. I have two trellis's.. right behind them.. OHHHHHHHHHHHH like they'll ever need the trellis I say...hehehhe

soooooooooooooooo what gives.. any advice, or is this all.. just the way it is when you plant them when you first get them online???

thanks all

hope your summer is going great???

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

There is an old saying about clematis. First year they sleep, second year they creep, third year they leap.

There are some exceptions at times, but often the first year in particular can be quite a disappointment. Sometimes the plant seems to "disappear" the first year, only to surprise you the following spring by growing back. I've had a couple that were so slow or underdeveloped the first couple years that I assumed they were gonners and just forgot about them. A year or two later, they suddenly burst forth in glory!

My advice is to make sure they don't get all dried out and have patience.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 8:58AM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Many mail ordered Clematis are so tiny that many of us pot them up for a few months to a year before planting them out in the garden.

Brown stems at the base are normal.

What you are describing is normal. Unfortunately, Clematis can be frustrating.

They need big amended holes and to be planted deeper than they are in the nursery pots and lots of fertilizer and water.

The ones you think are dead and gone likely aren't. Keep watering them.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:02PM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

Kate is correct...Clematis Demands Patience from their owners (they are such PrimaDonnas) as they do sleep,creep & leap...with some pruning group 3's such as your clematis "Jackmanii" being an exception..as long as you give them their basic needs they will flourish for you in your gardens and by year 3 you'll see what all the fuss is about...Basically they need 6-8 hours of sun..their roots must stay moist and they should be planted 2-4 inches deeper than they came in their pots so you can get the first leaf axil under the soil and deeper planting helps the roots to stay moist..
When you see clematis "brown-out" at the bottom yet have green leaves on the top..it's one of two things...the leaves loose moisture and turn brown because you are not watering them properly to keep their roots moist or it's a genetic thing on some varieties that they just get "Brown-legs" and that is why we plant a plant in front that has non-invasive roots so not to compete and strangle the clematis..so I offer you the advise of 1.Be patient and you'll be rewarded and 2. KEEP those ROOTS moist...and 3. fertilize when not in bloom or setting flowerbuds with either Tomato or Rose Fertilizer and 4. feed every 4-6 weeks with Alfalfa Tea....Jeanne

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 12:09PM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

I'm new to clematis, too and was wondering the same thing. I ordered about 5 clematis (mostly pruning group 3. Jackmanii was one of them.) I was thinking that because they were group 3 and grow on new years growth, that I'd see a lot of growth the first year, but I guess not, huh? I guess they are like roses and have to spend time growing their roots to become a big plant, even if you cut them down to the ground every year, huh?

My mom was saying with the "keeping the roots cool" saying of clematis that maybe I should put a rock at the base of the plant (covering the roots) is this a good idea,... or bad?

I haven't fed them since planting a couple months ago, so I should be feeding them something then right...? 5-10-10 (or tomato or rose fertilizer) or no?

can I make alfalfa tea without having such a huge container? can I just make some in one of my trashcans or something? I've never made it before. I guess it would be good for my roses, too?
Can you use something else other than alfalfa tea? because it sounds like so much work and everyone says it smells like vomit! D:

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 5:23PM
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You can always make a smaller container of alfalfa tea. I use about 12 cups of pellets to a 32 gallon trash can, so you could just divide by 4 - 3 cups of pellets to 8 gallons of water. That's a bit more manageable. Doesn't have to be exact. It's really not that much work, and the only time it smells like vomit is when I leave it too long, and don't stir it. You can use it after a week of brewing. It's just so darn good for the plants...as long as you take a shower and wash all your clothes after. I always manage to splash it all over me:)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:53PM
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opheliathornvt zone 5

I learned about alfalfa tea on the roses forum and some posters over there said they didn't bother with the tea, just put the dried alfalfa around the plants and then watered it in. I worried about rabbits being attracted to the pellets, but if you use enough water, it turns into a mush on the ground and has never been a problem for me. I find it works really well without the mess. I can't say it's as good as the tea, since I've never done that, but it sure is cleaner, from what I hear. It does smell bad, but only if you are up close to it and only for a short time.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 10:13AM
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jeanne_texas(Z 8B TX)

I am known for putting alfalfa pellets in my handheld spreader and twirling all over my flowerbeds..BUT of course I don't have problems with critters in my flowerbeds..that is the main con for those who's wildlife terrorize their gardens..but as Ophelia said watering them in prevents that problem as they do turn to mush..and broadcasting works just as well as the tea..it just takes a bit longer as the alfalfa will have to break down whereas "teaing" gives instance feed to the plants..My regime every year is in Spring I broadcast my pellets in my handheld spreader all over my flowerbeds..then I put a layer of composted cowmanure and then a 2-4 inch of mulch..that way my pellets are covered and start breaking down along with last years composted cowmanure and mulch..this yearly ritual has given me some really rich soil over the years...Plus I apply my tea several times during the growing season..especially on my Roses and Clematis...Hope this helps...Jeanne
PS..don't forget to broadcast the pellets into your Lawn..YOU'D BE AMAZED HOW GORGEOUS and GREEN and healthy your lawn becomes..

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 10:36AM
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aimeekitty(9-10, SW 18)

I think I'm having a pretty bad problem with something that is probably a rabbit lately... so ... can I water pellets in? or would it be better for me to use tea?
I like the idea of covering the pellets in compost and mulch. I have some extra compost that I was going to put around my roses and try to work it in a little...

I only have about 5 clematis, but I have like 40+ roses. Kinda makes me think that I should just make the tea and suck it up, so to speak.

I really appreciate the advice, I'm really a newbie.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 2:34PM
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pmermakov(Zone 6 (OH))

I think I want to try using alfalfa pellets this spring. Do most garden centers sell it, or do I need to go to a feed mill for livestock? We live in a more urban setting, so I am concerned about locating it.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:32PM
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irish_rose_grower(z7 LI NY)

I also want the alfalfa pellets. They do not sell them near me, i hear they are found at feed stores. I think there is one out east on long island. I may take a drive out there this spring and pick some up. I have daylilys and roses and clems and i hear it's good for all of the plants.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 9:51PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Yes, pure alfalfa pellets are sold as bagged horse food and they are cheap. You do not have to make tea you can just toss them around the plants.

There are feed/tack/farm/ranch stores closer than you think. If you don't have a horse you may not realize how many there are near you. I do so I know they can be found right in big cities.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 10:28PM
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I've paired the following up and will post pictures this summer

Viola with Princess Diana

Barbara Harrington and Perle d'Azur

Ville de Lyon and Prince Charles

Perle d'Azur and Marie Cornelia

Emilia Plater and Madame Julia Correvon, looks especially good!

Ville de Lyon and Romantika

Florida Sieboldii with Barbara Harrington


    Bookmark   January 28, 2012 at 3:47PM
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pmermakov(Zone 6 (OH))

Thanks for the info. I think I should be able to find the alfalfa fairly close or at the very least when I am visiting the area the Amish live!

Terrance, please re-post your message in the thread I started about ideas for fantasic clematis combos. Thank you.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 7:20PM
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pmermakov ... I had wondered why my message hadn't appeared regarding combos, I guess I must have been tired or just not paying proper attention and placed it here instead, lol lol.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2012 at 10:12PM
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