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Old 08-06-2014, 05:35 AM
10 posts, read 16,556 times
Reputation: 14


I have two clematis plants, both from the same parent plant and both in their second year. I have no idea what type they are, I may be able to figure it out after they bloom.
The one on the right side of my balcony is very happy and actually has its first flower buds, the one on the left side is tall but the leaves are small, curled and brittle. Then the leaves at the bottom are turning brown and dying completely, and the leaves throughout the plant are getting brown, starting at the tips and spreading through the leaf. No buds on that plant either.
I have watered in regularly and fertilized every now and again throughout the summer, mostly with miracle-grow and a couple times with epsom salt-water. Each plant is sharing the planter with some thunbergia alata and impatiens.
I haven't seen any bugs (second-floor balcony, so far insects haven't seemed to notice it!) or mildew.
Does anyone know what's wrong with it/how to fix it? Thank you!
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:20 AM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,392 posts, read 50,582,032 times
Reputation: 28622
I'm surprised that you ar ejust starting to get blooms, we have 3 of them and all are long finished blooming.

Your problem plant sounds like over watering/root rot. When you water, does it immediately start to run out the drain hole in the bottom of the pot? If not, you could have a clogged hole, or bad soil. The roots run deep and if they sit in water all the time they rot, and even cook in the hot weather. It seems too young to have become rootbound which also keeps water from draining.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:31 AM
Location: CO
2,456 posts, read 2,438,058 times
Reputation: 5155
Probably clematis wilt. Read this and see if it matches your description. It happens.

What is Clematis Wilt and What Can You Do About It?
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Old 08-06-2014, 06:11 PM
10 posts, read 16,556 times
Reputation: 14
Thank you both, I'll have to do some research and inspect my plant a little more closely to see if it fits either description. I know its in a tricky environment - we get full sun most of the day on the balcony so it can easily get too hot up top, and they're in large wooden planters that may hold too much moisture around the roots although I tried to be pretty careful when I put my soil mixture together. Also, as far as the late blooming goes, I think they are a little stunted from a tough winter. The planters are too big to move when full, but not large enough to prevent frost damage. I would have tried digging them up, but by the time they went dormant for good, they were frozen solid. (We had bizarre late fall weather in Maine.) All in all, its not ideal so its no wonder they are both struggling. But we live in an apartment so its all I have to work with. I will definitely look into both options though, thank you!
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:20 PM
Location: Portland, OR
9,594 posts, read 9,427,321 times
Reputation: 9198
I love Clematis. They are not 'easy' garden plants in the best of times. The wonder is that these particular plants are alive at all, not "why are my Clematis leaves curling up and dying?". I don't know... call me a curmudgeon but might the information in post #4 have been useful in post #1? All that said, however, my instinct is to wonder whether somehow the light on the side of the balcony with the ailing plant is somehow different in angle, intensity, duration or all three, than on the side with the happier one. And what of the other plants that share the planter. How are they? And I thought the question posed in post #2 very on point. I didn't notice that an answer was given. There must be adequate drainage from a planter. The best soil mixture in the world won't help. You must be able to water the planter thoroughly and well without worrying about waterlog.

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Old 08-07-2014, 10:12 PM
Location: CO
2,456 posts, read 2,438,058 times
Reputation: 5155
Yes, with this new information I'm surprised your plants are alive too! However, I know balcony gardening is difficult. By the way, not that I think this will help much but the base of clematis like to be shaded from hot afternoon sun.
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