Need clematis help, please

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I posted my clematis problem last year, and I got absolutely no help at all. Come on, you guys! Y'all know everything.

The problem is the thing comes out looking so healthy and vibrant. Then, when it blooms, it's gorgeous. THEN, very soon, the leaves start browning on the tips. The brown will eventually get half way down the leaf, but it doesn't seem to affect the blooms.

I've thought maybe it's to dry--too wet--too hot--or too something else. I fertilize with Osmocote. Heck, I don't remember if I put some on it when it first started sprouting, or not. I've heard that these pretties like morning sun, but need cool feet, so I put a stone edging in front of it (so the poor little thing wouldn't get hot feet). I about lose my patience with it every year when I see the browning start, and so early.'s so pretty and about the first thing that blooms around here.

I'd love to hear what you think.

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Beverly Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

Sybram----Go to this link for the DG clematis forum.

You will get a lot of help from there. We all think that Pirl is the expert on clematis!!

Post and there is a 99% chance she will reply in a day or two. Good luck!!

Talihina, OK

Now what I think they don't like is wet feet ...

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Well, I try to watch out for that, Grits. Sould I let it really dry out before watering? It'll be really hard to do that, since it's right by my EEs in front of my porch, which require mucho water. Hmmmm, and of course, we just got about 4-5 inches of rain. Again, hmmmmm.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I just happened upon this thread by accident while looking for the terrific ways you great people use cattle panels for trellises.

Bezziec - thank you for your very kind words! I try to help but often don't know (many) answers and turn to Google if I haven't had the problem. Sybram - did you go to the Clematis Forum? Did I help? How is the clematis doing? I'd imagine it's a humidity issue.

This blossom is for Bezziec!

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Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't water my clematis at all once they are established. EE need a ton of water is there anyway you could move one?

Talihina, OK

I only have two that are not Sweet Autumn which will live anywhere but the two are both in raised beds so even if there is a lot of rain they drain quickly

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Beverly Pflugerville, TX(Zone 8b)

WOW, Pirl. That blossom is beautiful. What kind is it? My Nellie Moser and Dr. Ruppel (ordered from Brushwood last fall) are both blooming even though they are about 18" tall. I have been dosing them with Epsom salt since March 1. Do they need other plant food besides a little compost and manure?

1lisac---Pardon my lack of knowledge, but what are EE's? I don't know if I have any.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

(EE's are Elephant Ears!)

That's Omoshiro, bezziec! It's my favorite one or maybe I should say my favorite three since I bought two more after seeing how glorious they are.

I love Nelly Moser as well and Dr. Ruppel bloomed here for months last year. It must have been quite happy.

You can also feed with any rose food if that makes it easier for you. They like a LOT of manure and compost. The Jackmanii that does too well here is at the side of a compost pile and I have to cut it back by 12' a few times each summer.

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Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Thanks for responding, Pirl. I did go to the Climatis forum, but this is the first time I've heard from you. We don't have a lot of humidity here in north Texas. I'm assuming I just have it in a bad place (next to my EEs).

The leaf tips are browning, as usual, but it's blooming up a storm, again, as usual.

Maybe I'll move it. Would fall be the best time to do that?

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Yes, fall would be the best time to relocate it.

I just found your thread on the Clematis Forum and I did reply. Some things just seem to get lost while we're busy. I'm just glad I didn't let it slip by without responding!

Here it is:

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

Wow, Pirl, that is an amazing jackmanii!

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Thanks, pbtxlady. It's due to the constant food source - the compost bin.

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

I have one that is about 25 years old, but it's growing in terrible conditions--shaded, sitting on top of a drain surrounded by gravel, etc. Wasn't in shade when I planted it, but my trees have grown up. Wish I could get it to look like yours at least once before it dies of old age, but that's probably not in the cards.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

IF you could manage to dig it up you could save it. I don't know the problems involved and it might be more of a job than you want. You may find out, when you dig, that it's now several plants. Getting two or three out and planted (deeply) with a lot of manure and compost, in a sunny spot with a lot of mulch (4 - 5" for the hot Texas sun) just might give you the lush look you want.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Ooooooooh, sounds worth it to me. I'll put that on my list (know what I mean?). I'll try to do it pretty soon, so this Texas summer won't throw it into shock. Or, put up with the brown tips and do it earllier next spring.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

I'd tackle the job when it goes dormant in fall - maybe December/January for Texas.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

yeah, that sounds perfect.

Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

Pirl, were you talking to me? I don't think I would try to dig it up--it's just too old. I really need it there, too. These are very difficult beds, and they line approach to my house, the spaces between the house and the sidewalk. We have to have the drain because it's a u-shape, and when we have a gully-washer, all the roof water on the whole house runs down there, and the gutters overflow. But it sure did wreck any kind of landscaping plan, right there as you walk to the front door. In 25 years, clematis are the only plants I've ever been able to get to grow there!

If it makes you feel better, I do have others under much better conditions, and they get to grow in all their glory. The jackmanii was my first, though, and I'm partial to it. I think I need to get another one and put it in a better place. :)

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

For all in warm climates - I'd move them when they are dormant.

PB - You may think it's all one plant, but chances are if you dig from the most accessible/easiest side, you will find it's actually several plants by now. You may be able to cut back one and remove it. Do you prune it late every winter?

The one pictured below was a small plant but when I lifted it to move it I found it was in five pieces - easy to separate.

Buying another one is always a great idea.

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Garland, TX(Zone 8a)

I suspect you're right. It has "moved' and some of the new shoots are a couple of feet away. I also pulled down a shoot this year and weighted it with rocks, hoping to air layer a new start. I really wanted to do that because we've had such high summer temps and drought the last two years, and last fall it was one of the things that had suffered badly, and I was afraid I was losing it. Seems to be fine now, though. Yes, I do cut it back, and yes, it does bloom several times every year, and it's lovely. It's just never gotten as big and spectacular as yours. :) I'm waiting patiently for my new baby Josephine to look like that too.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Good luck with the rooting. They often do that by themselves.

None of my other clematises perform like the Jackmanii at the compost pile. I'm thankful. I'd have to put up a cot in the garden, and garden at night by Halogen lights if they were all that size and needed the pruning required.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Pirl, you're a mess.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Am I?

Fort Worth, TX

all good to read, I just bought 3 clematis, plus I got an autumn clematis at RU. Sybram, are you on Burleson water or that private water company down there? I have some friends who can't use their hose water on their plants or the plants die, all they could ever keep alive was bermuda grass and a few iris until they set up rain barrels.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

We're on Bethesda water. When we moved here about 15 years ago, it was almost all well water, I think. Not so now. My DH said about 65% of our water is piped in from Fort Worth. Even so, I've never had a problem with it killing stuff. Like I said, ya gotta be tough out here. My plants just soak it up like they love it.

Fort Worth, TX

Bethesda varies from site to site in Burleson. If in doubt of whether your water is causing trouble, you can pick up an aquarium test kits, the strips give the most info, at Wal-mart or Petsmart or Petco, test it, and DG mail me the results.

Now if anyone can tell me where to find a soil test kit (home depot has apparently discontinued) I'm still fumbling around with my dirt!

Talihina, OK

Gypsi try tractor supply

Talihina, OK

Now I have a ???? for Gypsi I have a nice patch of Crimson Clover the bees seemed to like it but then discovered my Humming bird feeder Then today I was out there and there were no bees and just a few at the feeder.. Is it likely that the clover was just past it's prime

Fort Worth, TX

Or something else tastier came in bloom. All of the trees and bushes are putting on a show around here, and the bees are having a field day!

Talihina, OK

all of the fruit trees here are finished blooming but they must have discovered something else the open meadows are all just covered with a lot of wildflowers,,Will it hurt the bees to drink the hummers food ???? So far I don't have anything blooming that I think of as hummingbird magnets just some roses and a clematis they seem to like

Fort Worth, TX

Won't hurt them, but if the hummer food is red guess what color their honey will be? (during the drought a lot of wild hives got by on hummer feed, I cut one out of a house and they had red honey)

Sugarland, TX(Zone 9a)

I am in Houston trying to grow these beauties too - not very successfully. When I bought these as plants from nurseries - they were loaded with flowers. (This happens all the time - growers do things differently with soils and need to help us out here). I think I will eventually succeed to grow them successfully and it just takes a little time - WITH ALL THE HELP I GET FROM DG.
Good news though for December 19th - I have two buds ....just waiting if they will open up in this 40s and 50s weather.

Very happy to learn about all the new varieties.
Please go to the potting forum - I will search the link and post it.

Fort Worth, TX

I planted my clematis outdoors on the north side of my house. All dormant and deadlooking now, will see what next year brings. I ordered mine from Burgess last winter.

Talihina, OK

I have a friend that operates a greenhouse/retail outlet and the first thing he does each day is test the Ph of his water supply ... so yes the growers do something to get all that lush growth FYI last year we had a lot of rain and it was really hard to keep the Ph levels right I have a rainwater system but it was running at 7 or just slightly above

Fort Worth, TX

soft water from my fishpond does the best for starting seeds, no chlorine, natural nitrates, ph around 7.5 seems to be ok

Rancho Santa Rita, TX(Zone 8a)

Gypsi, for soil testing, contact the
County extension service, or check
a nurseries like Mike's, especially
in spring which is just around the
corner !

Rancho Santa Rita, TX(Zone 8a)

I have never yet tried clematis, but they ARE
on my want list.

Especially c texensis Princess Diana because
it is native to Texas, and c Rebecca &
c Multi-Blue,

But one thing sort if confuses me.

Instructions always say to keep the roots shaded.

Well, doesn't the soil shade the roots ?
Is the reasoning that shading the roots will keep them cooler ?
Does shading the roots also keep them moist ?

Can the shade be provided by other plants or by soil or
mulch, or MUST it be by rocks ?

foto is clematis Texebsis Princess Diana

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(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

Another Texensis for you to consider might be Duchess of Albany:

My photo is below.

It's so easy to layer that one in spring to get more plants.

The clematis roots want to be moist and cool, which does not translate to sodden with water. Just a piece of bark will work to shade the roots. You don't want the surface of the soil to be hot - that's the reasoning behind shading the root area. It will help keep the roots moist and cool.

Putting down a layer of manure, another layer of compost and topping it with bark would be ideal. If you have a slug problem then spread the slug bait before adding the bark, which can be one large piece or many pieces. Nothing I've ever read has said it must be a rock to shade the roots though a rock could work quite well.

Some people do manage to plant something in front of a clematis and have no problems but I feel anything planted in front of the clematis takes nutrients and water that the clematis could use so I avoid doing that.

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Fort Worth, TX

I planted my Burgess clematis (translate small and cheap) in 1 gallon pots that were buried except for 3 inches, so they wouldn't drown, and they are on the north side of my house so the house shades the roots even in summer. They looked alive til first frost

I had a 20 year old clematis at my old house, at least, planted by the former owner, grew on chain link shaded by pecan trees, came back every year. It was purple.

My soil is so altered by compost and stuff that I'd have to have 40 tests run, most of it is just good soil, some black gumbo, some sand, lots of organic amenities I've lived here 12 years... Started the compost project in spring 2004. Anywhere a compost pile sat has a bit of extra nitrogen for sure...

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