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Mybe not ideal location, or just tired from winter?

Posted by bradarmi IL 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 4, 09 at 11:28

I was really looking forward to my clematis season this year since most of my clemtis have been in the ground for three years now and was expecting a good show. I have about a dozen clematis vines scattered accross the yard and have noticed this year in paricular there seems to be a lack of vigor among 4 of them. I have some climbing shrubs or trees and a few climbing trellises and one climbing a rose, but the four giving me the most problems are:

2 (Nelly Moser) planted on opposite sides of the arbor in a low-lying area that faces east that can get quite soggy on rainy days but dries up later (among them are daffodils, hostas, ferns, daylillies, rhodies and two large Austrian pines). One is about 1.5 feet tall and the other barely broke the surface of the ground, this is at least their second summer in the ground. I figuered since clematis seem to like a lot of water, this would be ideal, but maybe not. I doubt there was lots of standing water since the pines and the rhodie do not like wet feet, but the rhodie didn't flower all that impressively either come to think of it.

one clematis (Ville de Lyon) planted in the SE-facing nook by our front door which gets morning sun from sunrise to 1pm or so, it is 2 inches tall. I bought another one at the same time and it planted on the other side of the yeard, it is over six feet right now, and that was the runt of the group. It was covered in snow all winter. I have an aster gropwing at its base which is doing well.

another clematis (Barb Jackman) facing south (planted by roses, tomatoes, and three other clems nearby are over 6 feet. It was over the fence (6 feet last year) but it is only a few inches tall since I had to cut it back so much this spring (wilt). There are irisees and a dahlia next to it.

Anyone in Chicagoland/Midwest facing similar problems? I had a lot of die-back on my roses as well, and am thinking this may have had to do with the winter, but all these clematis are the most protected spots - so figure that out. I should also point out that these vines are in well-ammended parts of the garden and the soil is not hard-pan clay either, it is rocky, loamy, soil teaming with earthworms and organics since these areas have been mulched for over 10 years.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Mybe not ideal location, or just tired from winter?

Clematis can be frustrating. They do not always put on a spectacular show on the third year. They haven't read the books. I have some that took four or five. You should fertilize them if you haven't already, if you had late frosts that could have set them back though they are very hardy.

I have Ville de Lyon and it has not been vigorous for me.


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RE: Mybe not ideal location, or just tired from winter?

I have over 40-50 clematis scattered throughout my yard. Clematis take several years to really bulk up depending on the variety. I would make sure that they are well watered - they should be with all of the rain we've been having! Make sure too, that they are mulched. I have to admit that I never fertilize them. I have too many and I'm too lazy to do that! They do like to be in a protected site too. Most of mine are growing on a trellis close to the house or planted around our deck. As for your roses, I would just make sure that they are hardy for our region. I've had great luck with Canadian Explorer roses. They don't suffer any dieback - at least not in my yard - and combine well with clematis.


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RE: Mybe not ideal location, or just tired from winter?

Your troubles could partly be due to the cold spring we have had.


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RE: Mybe not ideal location, or just tired from winter?

Ditto on what janetpetiole says. I'm in Milwaukee, just @ a hour from you & can tell you some things have been very slow to wake up this year. Not only that, when they do wake up they are just hanging there & not really growing. It's like they don't know what to do, kind of protecting themselves...good thing. The last couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster ride with the majority of the temps being 50-60. Yesterday I had a high of 50...on June 3rd! The nite temps have been dropping into the mid 40s. If I was a plant, I'd hide too. The only thing worse that could happen is solid consistent warm temps & get everything growing like mad & then have frost. I would much rather take the weather we are having now. Trying to be optimistic because this weather makes me curse under my breath regularly!


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RE: Mybe not ideal location, or just tired from winter?

It was just frustrating since we are having a big party this summer and I spent a lot of time last year training the roses and clematis vines which are close to doing nothing this year. I was seriously considering moving an old Bourbon rose and replacing it with an Explorer rose bellarosa.


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RE: Mybe not ideal location, or just tired from winter?

I almost forgot, I do fertilize occassionaly, but last years growth was so unimpressive I just figuered that the were making roots. The majority of the plants in question did at flower, so I know they are alive and well rooted.

As an aside, another post of mine from a few weeks ago mentioned that I had a clematis seedling pop up btween my shed and some large rose of sharon bushes, would't you know it, it is larger than the Nelly Mosers planted on the other side of the shed (mentioned in the first post above)!

Clems just remind us to be patient. I am kind of glad I didn't shovel prune them and run out to the store and get a 2g clematis to fill the spot immediately.


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