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Advice For Reviving A Clematis

Should I pardon this clematis? I have a clematis which has been on this trellis since we moved into our home over ten years ago. Every spring I am surprised that it has even survived because it never looks all that healthy to me. You can see that the top of the plant looks healthy and has many buds on which will soon bloom, but the middle areas are woody and unhealthy looking.

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There is, however, new growth at the base which you can't really see in this picture, and this new growth was a surprise to me. If it weren't for noticing that new growth this morning, my intention was to rip the plant out so that I could plant some climbing vegetables up that trellis. I've never tended to this clematis before and feel that if I am going to stay the execution of the clematis, I should start taking care of it properly.

I need some advice on whether or not this plant can be revived and how I should go about doing it. Should I be trimming it back each year down to the ground? Could someone let me know what it is that I should be doing for this poor plant that I'm not doing? I would so appreciate that. Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 7b

Tina from Ashland, OR

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May 10, 20080 found this helpful

I cut mine back to the ground every year in the fall. I live in WV in zone 5. It comes back bushy and healthly every year. What you might try this year is to feed it green tea. The strength doesnt really matter I have found as long as it is is plain green tea. I mix twenty five tea bags which I buy at Dollar General to two gallons of water. To start off I put the tea bags in a large pot and put a small amount of water in so it will boil faster. After it boils I let it cool then squeeze out the tea bags pour the mixture in my watering can and fill it the rest of the way up with water. Plants just love this stuff. Hope this helps. ~Janette~

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May 12, 20080 found this helpful

Go to www.parkseed.com. Type clematis in the search. Then you will get pictures of different clematis and when they need to be pruned.

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You will also get tips on care of your clematis. You will love this website.

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May 12, 20080 found this helpful

Hi there. I believe the woodiness remains (and do not cut it back)and new growth on old vives seems to be the rule. I also recall the old advice, "Feet in the shade and heads in the sun," which maens put rocks around the base of the clematis to keep the roots cool. Mulch heavily, except not for 8" from base of clematis or it will get stem rot. Click here for more advice: http://www.bloo  om/clematis.html

Best of luck. I love clematis! I also add morning glory and moonflower seeds (possibly black eyed susan vine) to combine with them, as the clematis fases and the others start to add their blooms as the clematis fade out.

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By Elaine (Guest Post)
May 12, 20080 found this helpful

So you know the name of your clematis? If you do, then you will know what pruning group it is in.

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There are 3 pruning groups. I think the poster who suggested you go to Park seed probably tells you which groups yours is in.

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May 12, 20080 found this helpful

Elaine:
I don't know what the name of my clematis is. It existed here before we purchased the home. I looked at the www.parkseed.com website, but I can't figure out which of those images mine looks most like, especially since mine is not currently in bloom. There are many blooms-to-be on the vines at the top, so I am hopeful that once they do bloom, I might be more able to compare them to the images at www.parkseed.com. If I can't, at least I can take a picture of the blooms and have someone help me try to identify it -- maybe I'll even post it here and ask for help with that if I can't figure it out on my own.

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May 13, 20080 found this helpful

I have a clematis that is planted in mostly shade. Each fall, I cut it all back except 6-8 inches. Each spring it starts all over again and within this last month, it's already 4 feet high. Good luck and hope this helps.

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Donita in Colorado

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February 2, 20190 found this helpful

If plant has received little attention Id begin gradually: in late winter or early spring, prune half of plant back to just above a pair of healthy buds. Next year do the other side. You can remove deadwood at any time but what looks dead may be green inside, so give it the benefit of the doubt.
After pruning give it a little liquid fish fertilizer diluted in a gallon or so of watertoo much fertilizer could shock it. After it blooms, same again.
I agree with the poster who advised circling it with rocks. A light top dressing of bagged topsoil would not come amiss. Add mulch (cypress deters insects) but you can really bring the mulch as close as 3-4 to base of plant. You have a lot of drought in NZ, dont you?

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That soil should be kept moist, so during drought a weekly watering is advisable.
Ive revived two clematis so far; a friends no pix sorry, and one which I brought home. The former owners of a house in my neighborhood had grown it for more than a decade, and I had always admired it. Then it went missing for 2-3 years. The new owners were seldom home and it took me that long to catch up with them. Didnt know it was there; no interest; sure, take it.
I was amazed to see the large vital root ballthere were barely any stems left! It sat in a pail, watered of course, for at least a month till I could plant it (with bone meal in the hole, covered with topsoil). It seems to be happy here.
Rats! Cant seem to find image icon.

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May 13, 20080 found this helpful

They need to be pruned in winter or early spring. Once it stops blooming you can cut it about half way back, which will produce more blooms the next year.

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February 2, 20190 found this helpful

With respect to the query about bringing back the struggling clematis: when you prune in late winter/early spring, I would cut it back to about foot in height, give or take, but cut just ABOVE a pair of fat healthy buds. I would agree with the person who advised circling it with rocks but you can really bring the mulch (advise cypress if available); I would also get some fish emulsion organic liquid fertilizer and mix a little in a gallon or so of water and pour at the roots. Do this once to begin with; then after blooming. If it hasnt been fertilized too much fertilizer could shock it. I also think you could put the mulch closer in; say, 3-4 inches ftom base of plant. In NZ you have had droughts, right? You need to water weekly under those conditions. If water use is restricted maybe grey water would do.
Clematis root balls are remarkably persistent and can be revived; but to make them flourish they kind of need TLC.

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