Tag Archives: clematis jackmanii

Clematis Stem Wilt: An Update to Something’s Wrong With The Clematis

Yesterday, I wrote about the terrible condition of two of my clematis plants (Something’s Wrong With The Clematis).

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

This morning, after an interesting discussion on Facebook, I called the Morton Arboretum Plant Hotline.  They are a great local resource for what’s going on with plants in the area.

They said it sounded like my clematis have clematis stem wilt.  Yikes! That’s not good, but not awful.

According to the Arboretum and the Missouri Botanical Garden clematis stem wilt is a fungal infection that comes on suddenly just as the plant is about to bloom.  Yep, exactly what I saw.

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

Within just a few days the stem and leaves turn black and start to die.  It may only affect a singe stem, or the whole plant.

Again, exactly what I’ve seen.  One has only some of the stems dying, the other all.

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

Pretty much the only way to treat it is to cut back and remove the infected stems and leaves.  Also, clean up any dead leaves underneath the plant so that the spores don’t stay in the soil and reinfect the plant.  Don’t forget to disinfect your pruning tools afterwards to keep them clean.  So that’s what I did today.

clematis wilt

clematis wilt

Here’s what they looked like when I was finished.

clematis wilt

clematis wilt

The one above has a mysterious new small plant growing right in the center.  I’m hoping it is the clematis already recovering and not a random weed.  We’ll see.

clematis wilt

Large flowered clematis seem to be more susceptible than small flowered, something to consider if this becomes a chronic problem. And as with most fungal infections, a cool and damp environment can contribute to the infections.  The good news is that the plants usually recover.

The odd part for me is how close the stunning clematis jackmanii variety is to the infected clematis.  It looks about the best I can ever remember.  Not much I can do about it except remove all the infected stems and leaves and say a little prayer.

IMG_1358

As I was cleaning up I was looking at the clematis seed heads.  So interesting and pretty in its own right.

clematis wilt

Hopefully your clematis are finding this a good year and the stem wilt doesn’t show up in your yard.

 

Something’s Wrong With The Clematis

Usually, my clematis are one of the stalwarts of my garden.

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

They grow beautifully with very little attention.  But this year, after being gone to Yosemite for a few days, I came home to both my Clematis “Sugar Candy” looking like this:

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

It was really puzzling. My two ideas as to what was happening where that somehow some stems were cut down low by an animal or accidentally during weeding, or round-up was used in the area without me knowing.  Although, that seems less likely since only the clematis seem to be affected and it seems to be stem specific.

I looked carefully at the base to see if there was anything obvious that I could see.  There didn’t seem to be anything I could see.

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

After another week or so, things weren’t looking any better.  One of the plants does seem to still have a thriving stem and continues to bloom.

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

The other barely has any green remaining so my hope for that one surviving are not very high.

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

But there are two lonely green leaves, so maybe???

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

So what to do?  Before fall, I’m going to carefully prume out all the dead stems.  Once the clematis goes dormant it would be impossible to tell live from dead.  Then basically wait and see how it does next year.  I probably won’t prune them as I have in the past (Checking in on the Clematis) to let them recover.

On the flip side, The Clematis “Jackmanii” is doing spectacularly well this year and is overgrowing everything in its path.  Not sure why, but I’m not complaining.

Clematis jackmanii

Clematis jackmanii

How’s your clematis doing?

(I do wish I could have taken better pictures, but it’s been so cloudy and gray.  Dead plants and gray skies don’t make for a cheerful image 🙂 )

After Vacation

Stephi Gardens

After a wonderful beach vacation and some college tours, we’re finally back home. As expected, the weather has been crazy while we were gone. The temperatures were just about average, but rainfall was almost double the normal amount. Included in this total was a single storm that dumped almost 2 inches of rain in under 2 hours and knocked out our power for almost 15 hours. Nothing like being on vacation and getting the call that the basement is flooded. Thank goodness for friends who went above and beyond to help.

So how did the garden fare? Quite well actually. With the fairly constant rain and average temperatures (and in some cases even a bit below average), I came home to a bit of a jungle. The last few years, by July we’ve been struggling with hot/dry conditions and the plants begin struggling. Not this year! I think I’ve had the sprinklers on once and that was just to test the system. Here’s some after vacation shots…

Many of the flowers are in full bloom and flourishing with the moderate temperatures and plenty of rain.  Although, I did miss most of the asiatic lily’s blooms.  They are mostly finished for the season.

zinnia

Notice how beautiful the creeping thyme looks (Problems with Creeping Thyme).  Still waiting for the hummingbirds to find my flowers and feeder.

Stephi Gardens

The Purple Rooster Bee Balm is still blooming and attracting bees.   But now the accompanying Jackmanii Clematis and Pardon Me daylilies are also blooming.

Stephi Gardens

 

Stephi Gardens

 

daylilies and Russian sage

With all the rain , this garden is doing well despite the change from full shade to full sun.

annabelle hydrangea

The sunflowers have become gigantic!  Before we left they were probably only about 4 ft tall (see Before Vacation), now they are easily 7 ft-8 ft and attracting lots of bees.

sunflowers

The vegetable gardens are flourishing, but need some attention to prune back some of the wildness.

Stephi Gardens

 

Stephi Gardens

I have a nice bunch of bush beans to harvest.

bush beans

The lettuce is still hanging in there. My idea to plant them in the partly shady corner of the garden has paid off.

lettuce

First time for cabbage and they’re looking great.

cabbage

Cucumbers were slow to get going, but I’ll have plenty soon enough.

cucumber

Zucchini and summer squash are plentiful.  Hoping to get some small tender ones harvested before they turn into baseball bats (see Giant Zucchini).  Somehow I’ve lost the garden markers labelling the squash varieties, so it’s a bit of a mystery what all the different squashes are.

zucchini

So, overall, I’d say everything fared pretty well this year (definitely better than the basement).   Looking forward to the continued blooms and vegetable harvests!

Me and my giant sunflowers!

sunflowers

Checking in on the Clematis

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

One of my favorite plants in my garden are my clematis. I love how they climb and burst forth in mountains of delightful color.  Every year I worry about if they’ll make it through the winter, but so far so good. One of them I’ve had since we moved into the house almost 20 years ago. It’s moved a couple of times, but it’s no worse for the wear.

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

I also worry a lot about pruning as well.  I just feel like I’m going to do it wrong and somehow kill it, or permanently wreck it.  So more often than not, I do nothing for a while and then timidly prune some off.  Instead, pruning clematis is necessary to keep it healthy and blooming profusely.

When and how to prune depends on what type it is.  It is also important to prune a young clematis the first 2 years to encourage strong roots to support a strong plant.  While tempting (and commonly done here), clematis should also not be pruned in the fall in colder climates since any warm weather will stimulate growth too early.

There’s lots of great websites describing how to prune a clematis, but simply put:

  • Type A or 1 blooms in early spring and should be pruned lightly to remove dead wood and neaten up the plant after blooming.  Flower buds are set the previous year on old wood.
  • Type B or 2 blooms in late spring or early summer and then sporadically after.  These can be pruned by thinning in very early spring and then again after the bloom.  Or, if really unruly, they can be cut back more severely to about a foot before any new growth begins.
  • Type C  or 3 tends to bloom in early to late summer.  These are the easiest to prune.  Before new growth begins cut the entire plant back to about a foot.

I think I can handle this. A little more care and my clematis will look even more spectacular!

This Clematis “Jackmanii” has been moved a few times and was the slowest to bud this year.  I was worried it was dead, but happily buds began to emerge a couple of weeks ago.

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clematis “Jackmanii” is a Type 3 clematis for pruning.  Last week, once the new growth was established and I new it was alive, I took the opportunity to prune back the tangled mess of dead wood above the new growth.

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

This one is my 20 year old Clematis “Jackmanii”.

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

 

It’s been hard pruned periodically (in the fall, whoops) , and keeps coming back bushier and fuller each year.

Clematis "Jackmanii superba"

One of my recent clematis plantings is a clematis “Sugar Candy”.

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

This a type 2 clematis and hasn’t been pruned at all since it was planted.

Clematis "Sugar Candy"

 

It could probably use some freshening up, so I will give it a bit of a “haircut” this year after it has bloomed, and then again in the early spring next year.

My newest one is unknown.  Somehow in less than 6 months, I have lost the name tag.  It is a clearance plant I got last fall, so I’m glad it came back this spring.  It’s going to be a nice surprise when it blooms and I can try to identify it.  I’l have a better idea as to how to prune it when I figure out what it is.

clematis

 

Do you have any clematis in your yard?  Are you comfortable pruning it?