Problem with Clematis

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

I bought 2 clematis plants on eBay which arrived in very poor shape. I have filed a case with the seller and am requesting refund. However I would like some advice on what I can do to possibly revive these two terrible little plants.
Both arrived very pale yellow and extremely lanky. There is not a mature green leaf on either one. The stems are pale yellow and limp. One had zero moisture in the soil. They are in 3" pots, sitting in the shade on my north facing porch. I watered them well.
Should I cut them back ?
I do see roots in the bottom of one container.
Any advice on how to baby these along?

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

3" pots? how tiny are they? is the stem totally dead?(do a scratch test and see if there is any green under the bark) if it's still green, it may revive, it not cut it back give it a little sun and hope for the best
Hope you get your refund!

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I'd keep them in that shady spot and keep them watered (although not too well watered--if they don't have a lot of healthy leaves they won't go through water very quickly). That's really about all you can do--I'd avoid much direct sun until they start to recover a bit (although bright indirect light should be OK unless it's too hot out), don't fertilize them until you see some signs of recovery.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

Here is the seller's response to me:
"Hi there, To let you know all of our plants are like that. I have personally bought plants and brought them home that were the exact same way and they leafed out just fine. These plants are kept indoors and haven't been exposed to natural sunlight. This is why they are the way they are. I promise you that they are healthy plants and that you will be able to get them to grow. If you have any other questions please let me know. God bless"

Now what?

BTW the stems are not at all firm, very limp and lanky, almost transluscent (sp)? exactly like they have never ever been in sunlight.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

I'd send the seller back a response...."but what if they don't live?" What's the time frame for a refund?

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

Even if they do live, we are in hot and humid East Texas. These should have been ready to get right into the ground. Not to mention that I paid for them 2 months ago and had to file a claim in order to force the seller to ship them. So we are WAY behind schedule and by the time they are hardened off enough to actually plant, it will be blistering miserably hot and they won't root well.

I told the seller that the ad was dishonest because it did not state that the plants would require pampering and babying before they were ready to plant. I doubt I will get a refund.

central, NJ(Zone 6b)

That really stinks....filing a claim def should have been the first indication this transaction was not going to go well, maybe she shipped you bad ones just to get back at you for filing a claim? Hopefully you didn't pay too much for them. I feel for you, I hate getting ripped off!
Well, nothing you can do but try to baby it. Clems do well in containers esp if they are that small, if you get some of those water sorb crystals that should help keep down on watering for you

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

You can grow plants indoors and they can still have healthy green leaves as long as you get them artificial light, light from a window, etc. They could still be lanky if the light wasn't strong enough, but the leaves should have still been green not pale yellow if they were caring for them properly. So in my opinion they did not care for these plants properly before sending them to you and ought to give you a refund.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

I planted the two clematis (Duchess of Albany and Warsaw Nike) in large planters in the shade of the porch. Where the sun could hit them, I made makeshift shade with some trimmings of crape myrtle branches stuck into the soil as shields. From spending the past 2 days sitting in the shade with indirect light, they are looking more alive, leaves darkening a bit and stems gaining some firmness.

I asked the seller for at least a half refund because of the fact that these should have shipped 2 months ago in order to give them time to harden off.

I'm hoping I can revive them but it will be next year before I really get to enjoy them, if they do live.

I bought other clematis from a different seller on eBay and received EXCELLENT little plants, vibrant, and ready to get in the ground. They took off nicely.

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

ebay has always worked with me to either get my money back or satisfaction. if you paid with paypal, you are covered completely. do not close your ebay complaint case until you are satisfied. ebay also keeps copies of all correspondence between seller and buyer so they know what is going on.

Gilmer, TX(Zone 8b)

Well the news update here is that after I asked for refund of half of what I paid, the seller escalated the case to ebay customer support. Ebay decided that I did not deserve a refund since I did receive my items. So I left some negative feedback and that is all I could do.

On the plus side, the vines are greening up, still pretty weak though. I have them sheltered/shielded from direct sun. One is particularly pathetic but we will see if I can make it live. I guess I can transplant them next spring to put them in their permanent locations because it is already running 90 degree temps here.

Virginia Beach, VA

I have a store on ebay but mostly shoes boots and purses so i know the policy.
Is it a no return ? Nonetheless you should be able to return them if they do not live. I would put it in a pot and observe it if it will put out new leaf. Also if the seller has good feedback she is honest about the plants making it. I had not encountered a dishonest seller but had few dishonest buyer.

Pinching the new growth growth encourages branching.

Good luck


mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

ebay can be so strange sometimes. i've gotten "bad" goods before and still got my money back, despite the fact that i received them timely and i didn't even have to return one of the items.
i always pay with paypal and use a credit card transaction, not a checking account. it's like having extra back-up protection.

Ayrshire Scotland, United Kingdom

3 inch pots are really the size used for potting on seedlings, Clematis have a long fleshy root system, dont really like their roots disturbed.
I cant speak for everywhere but all the Clem's that I have seen in many garden centers / nurseries are growing in tall narow pots where the roots have plenty room to grow way down but the style of these pots are so the plants, as they grow, fill the pots rather than sit in cold or wet soil in a large round /square pot, these large pots used for small plants causes the death of so many Clematis than anything else.

It is always advisable to wait till the plant has put out several good roots, nip out the growing tip of the stems and any side shoots to help the plant make plenty bushy side shoots keep the root area in shade and the top gets sunlight,

When the time comes to re-pot or plant out into it's final growing area, dig a deep wide hole, lay in plenty of organic matter and set the plant into the hole making the stem about 6 inches deeper than it was growing in the pot, this allows for any damage to the growing stem or stem rot (common disease) for clem's, IF the top growth does die back the deeper setting at planting time allows the plant to throw up new growth the following season.

Clematis are hungry plants and like a rich but well drained soil, dont like to sit in wet soil for long periods, it's a good idea to lay a thick mulch of well rotted animal manure around the root area each spring to help keep the root area cool, helps to hold in some moisture as the weather warms up and to help keep the root area cool while the top growth is in sunshine, place a large stone over the root area to help with cooler temps.

Hope this helps you out some, good luck, hope the plants you have pick up and please dont try hurry them along, it sound to me like the plants you recieved have been new rooted cuttings and not ready for planting out or even potting up into large pot, this large pot will hold too much cold soil and as you water, the plant will be sitting in a huge amount of wet soil.
Best of luck, WeeNel.

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