Growing clematis - Knowledgebase Question

Brunswick, Ge
Question by cdj1120
August 9, 2008
I live in southern coastal Georgia. This spring I planted bare root jackmani clematis on the southern side of my house. The shoots came up within 2 weeks and by month's end were 4-6inches tall. They have not grown at all since then but the leaves now have several large brown spots. Is this normal that there is no growth, or what could be the problem. The soil is sandy and I have been fertilizing them with miracle grow about once a month.

Answer from NGA
August 9, 2008


Clematis can sometimes be slow to establish. In fact, yours might just sit there for another year or two before beginning to grow long vines. Mine took three years before it began to grow and by that time I had almost forgotten that I'd planted it. Apparently the root system was growing and establishing itself but the tops didn't grow at all. But, once it began to grow, it practically took over the trellis. So, don't be too impatient with your plant. You might be able to coax a little new growth by pinching out the tip of one of the shoots. Pinching or cutting back usually promotes new growth as the plant tries to replace the missing parts. Try this and see how your clematis responds. The spotty leaves might be sunscald (drops of water on the leaves in hot sunshine can magnify the sun's rays and burn the leaf), or it could indicate a fungal disease. If your plant also has healthy leaves, remove the spotted foliage. If all the leaves are spotted, leave them on the plant but remember to rake them up and remove them from the garden at the end of the season.

Best wishes with your garden!

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