Poor Ernest is turning brown again. Needs help.

Helena, MT(Zone 4b)

Here he is: Ernest Markham. The discoloration starts at the bottom, and works its way up. He will be completely brown by August. I'm going to dig him up if I can't find out the problem, as this is his fourth year. It is not fungal, according to the nursery owner. He said it's phosphorus deficiency. I've tried high-phosphorus bat guano, Tiger Bloom foliar spray, liquid starter fertilizer, bone meal ... no results.

Someone posted a picture of the exact same problem on the clematis forum, but no one has identified the disease.

A lot of you have alkaline soil like ours. Do you think this is some deficiency?

Thumbnail by picante
Gastonia, NC(Zone 7b)

Huh. That looks just like the coloration lantana leaves acquire when they get sunburned or at least I always guessed that was what was the cause, and with lantana it doesn't seem to be a problem..... so this is almost certainly not a helpful answer. Unless this plant simply does not like the concentration of sunlight it is living with.....

good luck finding the resolution for this, Picante.....

Dolores, CO(Zone 5b)

Picante, I don't know, but I have a fuchsia, and it's leaves were going "metallic", though it was and is still growing and putting out lots of new flowers. Called our local nursery where we bought it, and they said it is the cool overnight temps that we've had that are causing it. To add to your conundrum, I also have a honeysuckle that has lots of new growth and buds, but leaves toward the bottom are turning spotty yellow and falling off... so I'll be curious as to opinions on your plant's issues.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

If you tried a foliar and it didn't do anthing, then it isn't a soil/absorptivitiy issue for that nutrient.

You might find an answer in this document on nutrient deficiencies:

It does look somewhat like phosphorus, but also somewhat like molybdenum. A soil test might also help with discerning your levels of absorbable nutrients.

Santa Fe, NM

I have some campanula that looks like that. It is blooming but turning yellow-brown on the leaves already. It usually turns when bloom is over and I just cut it back, like the blue cranesbill, who also do that. I figure they are just tired. A friend of mine is having problems with her tomatoes. A local nursery person told her that they have trouble absorbing nitrogen when the nights are cool and the days are cloudy. I can tell my dahlias Want to bloom but sun has been limited, so cloudy here. You know who loves it? The red hot pokers! They think this is just great. I was thinking about thinning them out again but now I see how tough they are, I hate to do it. I really like plants that thrive when others don't.

Thumbnail by roybird
Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Are those grapes next to the Red Hot Poker, somehow they don't look like grapes. But they sure are pretty!

Santa Fe, NM

Those are New Mexico Service Berries ( amelanchier ). They are quite edible but not especially delicious. Birds love them and I like them on my cereal!

Los Alamos, NM(Zone 5a)

Oh, I have heard about service berries and I have seen berries like that but no one ever told me which berry the name went with -- very pretty.
Now that my clematis jackmani superba is finally growing nicely, I have decided that I want to put a climbing rose where it is and then plant it in front of the rose so it can climb on it. Anyone want to guess how likely I would be to kill it if I moved it?

Helena, MT(Zone 4b)

Dave, that was an excellent document, and I saved it. Thanks.
So the foliar would have helped if it was a phosphorus absorption problem?

I got a pretty interesting answer on this from clematisguru on the clematis forum:
It's about genetically weak clematis plants.

Kyla, I wonder if this plant would be healthier in a shadier spot. It doesn't go into shade until probably 3:00 pm. And this problem generally begins right after our first few 70-degree days (in May).

Maybe I should move it after it blooms, and cut it way back, and see what happens.

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

I should think a foliar would have helped because a foliar bypasses the soil to root pathway altogether. Interesting the theory on genetically weak plants. I wonder why this show up. Inbreeding?

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