The Q&A Archives: Clematis Armandii leaves are light green, not dark green

Questioner's Location: Charlotte, NC
Date: November 15, 2005

Question: We have two of your Clematis Armandii. The both grew very well through the summer, but I just compared our plants to a neighbor's plants, and the leaves on our plants have a light green color instead of dark green like our neighbor's plants. I am comparing mature leaves on both plants. The original leaves that were on the plants when we bought them have the dark color-- it's the new mature leaves that are light green. I am wondering if we have a soil problem that might be causing this, or something that is preventing the plant from absorbing the proper nutrients in the soil to achieve the dark green color. Any ideas on cause or treatment? Also, should I attempt treatment now or wait until spring? Thanks, Scott Girard

Answer: Foliage color can be affected by a variety of factors but is often soil-related. The best way to diagnose that is to have your soil tested. Your local county extension can help you with the testing and interpreting the results. They may also be able to examine the leaves and diagnose it that way. If it is related to low nitrogen, it is so late in the season now that you would wait until spring to fertilize to supplement that. If it is related to inappropriate pH or lack of a minor nutrient, you might be able to supplement now. If it is a due to a disease or pest issue the treatment and timing would depend on the specific cause. It is also possible that you are seeing new growth with a naturally slightly different color due to lack of maturity or a difference in lighting or other cultural factor. This type of symptom is very difficult to diagnose long distance so I would suggest you consult with your county extension or/or professionally trained nursery staff. They may appreciate photos of the overall plant and close-ups of the foliage and possibly a sample or two. Good luck with your plant!

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