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Help! Clematis arrived but it's raining

Posted by dublinbay z6 KS (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 30, 09 at 14:58

My 2 clematis arrived yesterday from Silver Star Vinery--big fat ones, wonderful roots, but wrapped closely in only damp newspaper. My understanding from the Silver Star Vinery web page is that they are meant to be planted "immediately." But it has been raining for several days and the forecast has 50-60% chance of rain for the next week. I checked the soil -- some wet gooey clay mixed in there.

What to do? I'm sprinkling water on the newspaper wrapped plants for now, but keeping them wrapped up and out of the air for another week doesn't sound good.

I guess I could buy some larger sized containers and temporarily "store" them in potting mix or potting soil for a week. However, the only potting mixes/soils I see any more at the stores have a low level of fertilizer mixed in, and I'm not sure if that is good for the roots. But if I did that, would I add mix/soil up to the crown or a couple inches over the crown as is recommended when clems are planted in the ground?

Whatever I do, it will have to wait til after work today. Appreciate any input you can give by then.


P.S. For the curious, Rhapsody and Viola.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help! Clematis arrived but it's raining

I was just reading another post in which someone referred to soaking clem roots in water. Can clems take that? It would be a lot easier if I could just plop my 2 new clems in buckets of water and wait out the week til it's dry enough to plant out there. If this is workable, would I keep the soaking clems in partial shade outdoors?


RE: Help! Clematis arrived but it's raining

Soaking roots in water refers to bareroot dormant plants usually. Debbie's plants should have some active top growth at this time of the year. I think keeping them in pots for a week or two will work just fine. Do not worry too much about potting medium and depth of the planting. For a short period of time it does not really matter.
Is it continuously raining? I keep working in the garden and planting new plants when the rain stops for several hours.

RE: Help! Clematis arrived but it's raining

Thanks, alina, for the advice.

Yes, the plants have some active top growth--which is one reason I figured I need to get them out of the damp newspaper wrappings. I will take your advice and pot them. Glad to hear I don't need to fuss about the pottings.

For several days it has been pretty regularly raining--a slow steady rain that soaks down deep--and it looks like that might continue for at least another 24 hours. It's pretty soggy out there. I tried digging a couple samples in two different spots out there--the clay in the soil is just a wet gooey glob. I was planning on digging deep and wide and doing a lot of amending, but I don't want to mess with the gooey glob right now. (Geesh--I also have some grass that is in serious need of cutting--long and sopping wet, unfortunately.)

Thanks. Gotta go to a meeting now.


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