The Q&A Archives: Dying Clematis

Question: I have two Clamatis climbing on an arbor. One of them seems to be dying as vines keep turning brown, leave wither, and the vine must be removed. I have sprayed several times for spyder mites but that does not seem to help. Any suggestions as the other side is now also starting to show some problems. Leaves turn brown at bottom of plant and then goes up the vine.

Answer: Based on your description, it sounds like your clematis is suffering from the problem called "clematis wilt." Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease. On the other hand, it is not always fatal and many plants do recover. Remove the affected stems, cutting below the wilt. You may need to go as low as just below ground to remove all of the affected portion. Hopefully, it will regrow. To optimize its chances, keep the soil evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not sopping wet and not dried out. Use several inches of organic mulch over the root area to help keep the soil evenly moist and cool. Good luck with your clematis!

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