Answer: Liquid fertilizer shouldn't be too strong, unless it was over applied. Clematis like their roots in cool, moist soil and their tops in the sunshine. Could it be that the soil was too dry or got too hot? I plant my clematis in compost amended soil and then set a decorative stone in front to help shade the roots and the bottom part of the stem. They seem to like the situation but you could plant a shrubby perennial in front of your clematis instead. There's only one other concern - why did the older clematis die? If it was from clematis wilt, there may still be some pathogens in the soil and they may have attacked your new plants. Hope this information is helpful.
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